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Held at Circleville, Wilmington, Tiffin, and Columbus, Ohia 

October 3, 4, 8, vnd g, -iSyj. 




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Toward the close of the Ohio political campaign of 1875, the Re- 
publican and Democratic State Executive Committees arranged for a 
series of joint discussions upon the finance question, between Governor 
Stewart L. Woodford, of New York, and General Thomas Ewing, of 
Ohio; the former representing the Republicans, and the latter, the 

The undersigned was employed to make a stenographic report of the 
discussions, merely for convenience of reference. The debates com- 
menced at Shawnee, September 30, and were continued on successive 
days at Lancaster, Circleville, Wilmington, Galion, Upper Sandusky, 
Tiffin, and Columbus. The importance of the subjects under discus- 
sion, and the ability and fame of the speakers, caused the debates to 
attract wide attention at the time. The public interest in the question 
canvassed having in no degree abated, the reporter determined to write 
out and publish several of the debates. Having been held before 
different audiences, and the same topics having been, to a large extent, 
discussed each day, there was necessarily a good deal of repetition. It 
was therefore deemed undesirable to publish all of them. For that 
reason only four of the eight debates are published. 

The report has been submitted to and revised by Governor Woodford 
and General Ewing. In several instances, passages occurring in one 
speech have been omitted in succeeding ones made by the same gentle- 

• • • 


iv Preface, 

man. Some changes have been made in forms of expression, but no 
new maMer has been added. 

It is due to the speakers to say that the debate was brought on im- 
promptu, and was continued from place to place each succeeding day, 
leaving them no time for special preparation. 

J. V. LEE. 
Columbus, 0., February, 1876. 


ScLtuurdcLy Jlftej^TLOort, Oct. 2, 1875. 


Mr, President and Citizens of OirdeviUe: — 

This is the third meeting at which my friend General Evving and 
myself have united in debate. In the first, at Shawnee, I endeav- 
ored to define the parties to the canvass. 

The condition of our politics is somewhat singular. This is not 
a discussion between the old National Democratic party and the Na- 
tional Republican party. For while I stand where the National Re- 
publican party stood in the presidential canvass of 1872, my friend 
Gen. Ewing does not represent the National Democratic party of that 
year. At its convention in 1872, that National Democratic party re- 
solved in favor of a return to specie payment at the earliest possible 
moment. My friend is not here to advocate that. Nor does my 
friend represent his old Liberal Republican allies, who stood with the 
National Democratic party in that presidential contest ; for their plat- 
form was identical with the platform of the Democrats, in requiring a 
return to specie payment at the earliest practicable moment. My friend 
does not represent the Democrats of California, nor of Oregon, nor of 
Nevada, nor of Colorado, nor of Texas, nor of New Mexico, nor of 
Nebraska, nor of Illinois. He does not represent to-day a single 
Democratic convention held east of the Alleghany mountains nor tlie 
Democrats of a single eastern State, except Pennsylvania. 

The family is small. Like the Siamese Twins, there are but two 
of them, Chang and Eng. [Laughter.] Like the Siamese twins, 
these Ohio and Pennsylvania inflationists must live and move and have 
their being together, and when one dies the other must die also. 

[Laughter.] If inflation Chang shall meet an untimely end in Ohio 


6 Debate at CirdevUle. 

this October, inflation Eng will have been a corpse in Pennsylvania 
long before the November election. 

But my friend will tell you that while he does not represent the 
Democratic party of the past he represents the Democratic party of 
the futui;e. He will tell you that his party is organized in opposition 
to what, in eloquent language, he will style *^the money power" of 
the land. Should he speak here, as he has spoken elsewhere, he will 
tell you that this ** money power" is centered in Xew York, and 
that in New York it has its main strength in Wall Street. 

Unfortunately for him the only inflationists in New York are the 
gamblers of Wall Street, to whom it is an advantage to have gold 
bobbing up and bobbing down like the mercury in a thermometer. 
While every man in New York, who has an interest in the welfai^ of 
the country, has an interest in ymir welfare. To whom does New 
York sell? To Ohio and the West. If Ohio is not prosperous, how 
can New York be paid? Our interests are one with yours. When 
the farmer does well, the trader in the village does well. When the 
trader in the village does well, the merchant in the city does well. 
And when the merchant in the city does well, then the men who 
control the great springs of business at New York do well. The only 
men in New York who have an interest in inflation are, as I have 
said, the gamblers of Wall Street; and, without intending it, my friend 
represents them in his purpose to-day. [Laughter.] 

I stated at Shawnee what I thought was the central issue of this 
canvass. I read the words which I used, so that no injustice may be 
done: *' Shall the Government now, of its own sovereign pleasure, 
print, and hereafter continue to print, irredeemable paper, and stamp 
it with the alluring name of money and make it a legal tender in thd 
payment of debt?" My distinguished opponent then claimed that I 
had not stated all the issues, but substantially admitted that I had 
correctly stated what he insists is after all only one of the issues of the 

Let me read his exact words, as taken by the stenographic reporter 
at Shawnee, and then I can not possibly do either him or myself in- 
justice. Gen, Ewing said: "The gentleman (referring to me) states 
what he understands to be the issue' that we are discussing to-night. 
His blanket doesn't cover the horse. So far as he states it I have no 
special reason to complain ; but he states only a fragment of the issue. 
He says the question is whether this Government shall issue legal 
tender paper money, for that it is stripped of its gloss. I am willing," 
adds Gen. Ewing, **to accept that issue. The Government has the 

Woodforcrs Opening Speech, 7 

right to issue it" (that is, the legal tender money), ** and it ought to issue 
it/' We have, then, one issue that is clearly and distinctly made on 
one side, and directly and in terms accepted on the other. 

At Lancaster, in the second debate yesterday, ray friend claimed 
that the central question of this discussion is the repeal of the resump- 
tion law. That law was passed on January 14th, 1875, to go into 
operation on the 1st of January, 1879. Now that there may be no 
quibbling on my part, and there certainly will not be on his, let me 
read the language of this issue fropi the Democratic platform. I 
think my friend was the chairman of the committee that reported it ; 
were you not ? 

Gen. Evdng. — Yes. 

Gov, Woodford. — Then I have the pleasure of discussing the color 
of the eye and the length of the hair of the baby right in the presence 
of its father. [Laughter.] Let me read the words of the 8th section 
of the Democratic Ohio platform. I am compelled to call it the 
Democroiie Ohio platform, because it is not as yet Democratic any- 
where except in Ohio and Pennsylvania. 

Elghtfi. — ** That the contraction of the currency Jiitherto made by the 
Kepublican party, and the further contraction proposed by it with a 
view to the forced resumption of specie payments, has already brought 
disaster to the business of the country, and threatens it with general 
bankruptcy and ruin. We demand that this policy be abandoned, 
^nd that the volume of the currency be made and kept equal to the 
wants of trade, leaving the restoration of legal tenders to a par with 
gold, to be brought about by promoting the industries of the people, 
aad not by destroying them." 

. The first charge in this article is " the contraction of the currency 
hitherto made by the Republican party." When was the currency 
contracted, if at all ? There are many who claim that there is more 
currency afloat to-day than there ever has been at any period since the 
beginning of the war. But that I am not going to discuss. I will 
spend no time quibbling on that. This charge is, that the Republican 
party contracted the currency. 

When did the alleged contraction occur? Between 1865 and 1869 
almost entirely. Not one-tenth of the alleged contraction occurred 
after the 4th of March, 1869. Who was president from 1865 to 1869 ? 
Andrew Johnson. Who elected him? The Republican party. With 
whom did he act? With the Democratic party. Who supported 
him ? The Democratic party. Whose administration was it after he 
forgot the men who put him into power ? The administration of the 

8 Debate at drdeviUe. 

Democratic party. Who in Ohio was one of the chief and most ear- 
nest supporters of that administration ? The distinguished gentleman 
with w^hom I debate to-day. Who is responsible for the contraction 
of the currency ? Andrew Johnson and Andrew Johnson's Secretary 
of the Treasury. And who is the man that most fearlessly supported 
that administration in the State of Ohio ? The gentleman wdth whom 
I debate. Then it was not the Republican party that contracted the 
currency. [Applause.J 

When was the first law passed with regiard to the funding of the 
debt, which my friend calls the contraction of the currency? It was 
recommended by Mr. McCuUoch, Sewetary of the Treasury, in De- 
cember, 1865. On the 18th of December, 1865, the following resolu- 
tion was passed by the House of Representatives: '^Resolved, That this 
House cordially concurs in the views of the Secretary of the Treas- 
ury in relation to the necessity of a contraction of the currency, with a 
view to as early a resumption of specie payments as the business in- 
terests of the country will permit, and we hereby pledge co-operative 
action to this end as speedily as practicable.'* 

This resolution was adopted, without even a reference to a committee, 
by a vote of 144 in the affirmative, to 6 in the negative. Of those 
voting in its favor, 31 were Democrats, while only one Democrat voted 
against it. Among the Democrats who voted for the resolution, were 
Ross, Thornton, and Marshall, of Illinois ; Niblack, Kerr, and Vor- 
hees, of Indiana ; Trimble, Ritter, and Shanklin, of Kentucky ; Hogan, 
of Missouri ; Finck, of Ohio ; Randall, Boyer, Ancona, Strouse, John- 
son, Denison, and Dawson, of Pennsylvania ; and Eldridge, of Wis- 

On April 12th, 1866, during the administration of President John- 
son, the only bill that ever directly provided for contraction of the 
currency was passed. On the passage of that bill, to carry out the 
recommendation of *the resolution already quoted, only one Democrat 
voted nay in the House of Representatives. In the Senate the nega- 
tive vote was cast entirely by Republicans. Both the Pennsylvania 
senators, Buckalew and Cowan, who were Democrats, voted for it. 
Then, if there was contraction, the Republican party was not, as a 
party, responsible for the contraction. 

Gen. Eioiyig, — Cowan was a Republican. « 

Gov. Woodford. — That is so. Cowan was a Republican. I am in 
error in regard to that. Buckalew was a Democrat, and Cowan a Re- 
publican, in name, but in faith a Democrat of the President Johnson 

Woodford^s Opening Speech, 9 

type. In the height of my generosity I wanted to give your party all 
the credit I possibly could. 

Gen. Evjing. — You give us too much. We are not greedy for such 

Gov, Woodford. — You see the trouble is, I have been with Gen. 
Ewing for three days, and unfortunately am getting to be a little of 
an inflationist. I will have to come back to contraction. [Laughter.] 

Gre?2. Ewing. — We will convert you altogether after a while. 

Gov, Woodford, — Then the next charge in this Democratic platform 
is that a further contraction is now proposed by the Republican party 
with a view to the forced resumption of specie payments. In the re- 
sumption bill there is not a line or word that looks toward contraction. 
I am not here to specially defend the bill. I am not here to attack 
the bill. The bill is not legitimately the issue of the present canvass. 
Whether that bill will bring resumption or not, I do iiot know. It 
may not be possible to resume without contraction. But that bill does 
not compel a dollar of contraction. 

On the contrary, it permits expansion of the national bank cur- 
rency. It retires but $80 of greenback currency for every $100 of 
bank currency that may be put out. It provides that the greenbacks 
shaU not be retired below $300,000,000. 

It does not require a debtor in this land to resume payment in gold, 
it does not require a national bank in the land to resume payment in 
gold, until after the Federal Government shall have put its credit un- 
der the whole, and by making the greenbacks redeemable in gold, shall 
have lifted the entire credits and values of the country together. It 
proposes that the Government shall be absolutely honest first, and 
when the Government, if ever, is able to be honest, tlien and not till 
then, does this law ask that other payments shall be made in gold. 
They can even then still be paid in greenbacks. The greenbacks will 
simply command the gold. 

But enough of that. This Democratic platform goes further, ^t 
demands the abandonment of this policy, and then, as lawyers would 
say, asks affirmative relief. It asks that the currency *'be made and 
kept equal to the wants of trade." If the currency is to-day equal to 
the wants of trade, then it need not be made so. That which is, need 
not be created. If there is enough currency now, there is no need to 
make the volume any thing. Because the word " made " is used, every- 
body understands that this Democratic platform means that there is 
not to-day currency enough, and that the volume shall be made — 
something is to be created — something is to be done. The volume 

10 Debate at CirdeviUe. 

shall be made equal to the wants of trade. Then there is to be infla- 

More than that: this platform demands that this volume *' shall be 
made and kept equal to the wants of trade." If by the further issue 
of paper money its purchasing power diminishes ; if we shall come to 
where we were during the war, when it may take $2.80 of legal tender 
to buy as much as $1 of gold will buy, then of course if there is not 
currency enough now, there will not be enough then. If there* is not 
currency enough now, when a dollar in greenbacks will buy what 
eighty-five cents in gold will buy, there will not be enough currency 
when it shall take $2.80 in greenbacks to buy what $1 in gold will 
buy. And so the volume of currency must be kept equal to the de- 
mands of trade. As fast as the gas gets out from the hole in the top 
of the balloon, more must be made^ and forever be pumped into the 
bottom, so that the scheme may float if possible. [Applause.] 

Why is not the resumption law the main issue at this present mo- 
ment? I will tell you. I will admit that the resumption law is the 
main issue whenever the gentleman will tell me that if the law is re- 
pealed he will not, under any circumstances, ask for the issue of 
another dollar in greenbacks. But if the law is simply in the way of 
inflation, like a horseback in a coal niine that has got to be dug 
through or tunneled under; if the resumption law is simply in the 
way of inflation, if it is simply the gate that keeps the cjittle on one 
side of the fence, and out of the field on the other ; if men only want 
the resumption law repealed, that they may issue more greenbacks, 
then the question is not the resumption law, but the question is infla- 
tion or no inflation. It is simply, shall we let the cattle out of the 
field, that arc ncjiv behind the fence of the resumption law ? 

Every man clearly sees this. When you go through your commun- 
ity, who talks about the resumption law ? I stood among those stal- 
wart miners of Shawnee, and when with ringing cheer they welcomed 
th%ir great champion, the cry that went up was "more greenbacks," 
" more greenbacks." I stood among his fellow-townsmen in the city 
of Lancaster, yesterday afternoon, and the cry that welcomed him 'as 
he came up the hall was *' more greenbacks," " more greenbacks." 
The crowd and I were in thorough sympathy. [Laughter.] I wanted 
more greenbacks top. [Laughter.] 

The common sense of the community has gone to the root of this 
matter, and the questions of this canvass in Ohio are, shall the volume 
of your currency be inflated? do you want more greenbacks? how 

Woodford^s Opening Speech. 11 

are you to get more greenbacks? how can we get more greenback? 
even if the Government prints more ? 

These are the issues, and all other discussion is an effort to get fo^ 
and cloud and mist between the sun above and the people below. Be 
done with the fog. Be done with the mist. Come squarely up to the 
question. Do you want more greenbacks? Will you print more 
greenbacks? How are we to get more greenbacks when you have 
printed them ? [Applause.] 

Now I propose to discuss this question of more greenbacks. The 
eloquent gentleman who is running for Lieutenant-governor on the 
Democratic ticket, portrays before every audience the terrible condi- 
tion of affairs under which we suffer, until, as I have been told, one 
stalwart farmer who had two crops already in his barns before he put 
in the third, wiped his eyes with his cuffs, and thought how terribh- 
he was taxed and how fearfully he was off. Then Mr. Gary come;^ 
down to the question and says, *' What we Avant is more money." Then 
he looks through the audience and adds, **If there is any gentleman 
here ^vho does not want more money, let him stand up." Of course 
nobody stands up. [Laughter.] 

If I should go down to New York and call a mass meeting there, 
and the only persons attending should be William B. Astor, and John 
Jacob Astor, and Cornelius Vanderbilt, and Alexander T. Stewart, 
and Horace B. Claflin, and then I should say to them, "Men and 
brethren, what do you want?" every one of them would say '^moro 
money," too. [Laughter.] The question is not, do you want more 
money ? Of course you do, if you can get it honestly. The practical 
question is. How shall you and I get more money ? That is the ques- 

Now, first, that w^e may get at a square understanding of this thing, 
let UB see w^hat money is. What is a greenback ? It is a note. The 
law describes it as a United States note, a treasury hole. Wliat is a 
note? That which a man writes, promising to pay. The greenback 
is a part of the national debt. It is a part of the debt, whether the 
Government holds it in trust, or whether it is out and in circulation. 
Now the Government coins a ten dollar gold piece. The Government 
has the coin in its vault. The Government does not owe it exce})t in 
payment of possible debt. After the Government has paid it owt, tiie 
Government surely does not owe it. The Government paid a del)t 
with it. The gold coin is payment of debt. The greenback is evi- 
dence of unpaid debt. Then a ten dollar gold piece in your pocket ia* 
not a debt of the Government, while the greenback is. 

12 Debate at Girdev^iUe. 

Am I mistaken about this ? The greenback is a debt of the Gov- 
ernment. Here is the last Treasury report or statement of the public 
debt of the United States for the month of August, 1875. It gives, 
first, "debt bearing interest in coin ; " next, " debt bearing interest in 
lawful money ; " next, '* debt on which interest has ceased since ma- 
turity ; " next, '* debt bearing no interest,'' and under this head it em- 
braces **old demand notes, legal tender notes, certificates of deposit, frac- 
tional currency, coin certificates, unclaimed interest ; " and these all foot 
up $497,000,000. Then the greenback, which is described in this 
debt statement as a '* legal tender note," is a note, and a note is a 

I will read the greenback itself, that there may be no mistake about 
it : "The United States will pay the bearer five dollars." It does not say 
"this is five dollars." What is the five doUars? Another piece of 
paper ? No. Another note ? No. You give me a note. When it 
comes due I go to you and say, " I want payment." " Certainly, Mr. 
Woodford, I will pay you." You sit. down, get a pen and write a 
note a little handsomer than the one I had before, and hand it over to 
me. I look at its language and I reply, " That is a good deal like 
the Government greenback, I guess that must be payment," and I go 
off. Li a month I come back and say, " I would like you to pay that 
note." " Certainly." So you write another one, that has more flour- 
ishes than the other, and you give me that. I go away and think that 
must be payment. 

By and by I get tired. " The United States wiU pay the bearer 
five dollars." But my friend says the Government has made that 
greenback money. So it has. Now let us read the law which the 
Government has passed with regard to this, for I think it is stronger, 
possibly, in its language than even my friend anticipated. Section 
8588 of the United States Revised Statutes : " United States notes 
shall be lawful money and a legal tender in payment of all debts, pub- 
lic and private, within the United States, except for duties on imports 
and interest on the public debt." 

The law has declared that the greenback or United States note is 
lawful money. Why did the law so declare ? You and I recollect 
the circumstances of the Rebellion. You and I recollect that the Gov- 
ernment credit was weak. You and I recollect that we could not fight 
the Rebellion without money any more than we could without men. 
You and I recollect that on the table of the Treasurer of the United 
States there lay requisitions for the payment of the army and the 
navy, for military supplies, and other war obligations, amounting in 

Woodford' 8 Opening Speech, 13 

all to more than $50,000,000. This debt had been created. There 
was no coin with which to pay. What did the Government do ? It 
printed these notes and gave them to the soldiers. What did it 
further do ? These notes might have been useless in the soldier's 
. hands. With them he could not pay his debts or surely buy food and 
clothing for his children. Wliat did the Government do ? It said 
if our soldiers, in the absence of money, must take these notes, we will 
clothe these notes with legal tender quality. We will clothe them 
with the power to pay your debt, so that you may send them home, 
and wife and children shall be cared for. So the legal tender came 
into existence, and so the legal tender is to-day circulating in the com- 
munity. But it is still a promise to pay. 

I am not here to attack the greenback. It was the price of my 
countr/s liberty. It comes to me with memories tender and sacred 
clustering round it. So deeply do I love it, the price that bought the 
salvation of my land, that I would keep its promise in pure virgin 
gold, so that it should be forever the nation's truth imd never become 
the nation's lie. [Applause.] 

This greenback is a note, although it is clothed with legal tender 
quality. My friend will tell you that this legal tender quality is what 
gives it currency ; that this is what gives it value. It does give the 
^greenback currency or circulation. If you owe me a hundred dollars 
to-day, and you have a hundred dollars in greenbacks, you can pay 
your debt to me ; but the Government debt, which those greenbacks 
represent, is still unpaid. Remember, however, that the greenback 
does not regulate price and value. If you have got a bushel of corn 
to sell, you can ask as many greenbacks for it as you please, and the 
law can not make you sell your corn for less. But if you do sell the 
corn, the number of dollars for which you sell it is paid in greenbacks. 
Then what is the result ? Just in proportion as the people lose faith 
in the greenback, just in that proportion prices go up. 

There was an hour during the war when all looked dark, when the 
cloud of despair hung over the land. Our armies seemed paralyzed. 
There they stood, helpless, almost hopeless. Women were praying at 
home ; men were dying in the hospital and on the field ; and a great 
nation stood irresolute, too proud to retire, yet powerless to advance. 
And where then did the greenback go ? As faith weakened, down, 
down, down dropped the greenback, until it took two dollars and 
eighty cents in greenbacks to buy what one dollar in gold would buy. 
Victory came, and up, up, up went the greenback. It was the ther- 
mometer that marked the faith of the people in the future of the na- 

14 Debate at OirdeviUe. 

tion. When the Rebellion was crushed, still up, up went the. green- 
back. It stood this last August where it only took one dollar and 
fourteen cents in greenbacks to buy a dollar in gold. 

Here Js a five dollar gold piece [holding one up]. Take a good look 
at it. You may not have seen one for a long, long time, and if my 
friend succeeds you won't see one for a much longer time to come. 
There is the promise to pay [exhibiting a five dollar greenback]. 
Here is the five dollars that the greenback promises to pay. But 
some of you may ask: "What, does not that" [the greenback] "buy 
as much as this " [the gold] ? It does not. I can go to a bank, right 
here in Circleville, and to-day sell this gold piece at a premium of sev- 
enteen cents on the dollar. I can get a five dollar bill just like that 
and eighty-five cents in currency besides. Five dollars and eighty- 
five cents in paper will buy more than five dollars in paper. Last 
August I could only have got a premium of fourteen cents on the dol- 
lar for the gold. This gold piece is worth fifteen cents more than it 
was last August. That paper is worth fifteen cents less. 

The first shock came from the Ohio platform. But then the people 
said there will be nobody mad enough to follow this will-o'-the-wisp 
into the bogs, and be left there in the mud. Alas ! the needs of poli- 
tics were greater than the demands of trade. And so Ohio begged 
for Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania turned her back on her hard 
money record of the past. I fancy that the bones of Andrew Jackson 
gave one long and melancholy rattle in the cofiin at the Hermitage 
when Democracy turned back upon every thing that Democracy had 
ever meant in the story of the past. But it has been done and Pennsyl- 
vania is beside Ohio, and what is the result? Up went gold from four- 
teen to seventeen. Down dropped the paper greenback from eighty- 
eight to eighty-five. Pennsylvania stood by Ohio, and the man who 
had the gold made three cents on the dollar, while the man who had 
the paper lost three cents on the dollar. Now let the volume of the 
greenback currency be increased, and who will make the money? 
The men who have substantial property, that does not have to be sold, 
will mark it up in value, while the man who has only his labor to sell, 
the man who has only between himself and starvation a very little 
property that he can sell, must sell that labor and part wdth that lit- 
tle property at the best price he can get. ^ Andrew Jackson said, 
years and years ago, that the only effect of a depreciated paper cur- 
rency is to make the rich forever richer and the poor forever poorer. 

What gives that paper greenback value ? The promise of the Gov- 

Woodford's Opening Speech, 15 

emment. Take from that paper its promise, and where is its value ? 
Break the promise, and where is its value? Here [showing another 
paper bill] is a bill just as pretty as that other one. That other says 
five dollars, and this twenty dollars. This ought to be worth four 
times as much as the other. Let me read them and see how you 
would like to trade : ** The United States will pay the bearer five 
dollars." ** The Confederate States of America will pay the bearer 
twenty dollars." Who wishes to trade? Little Phil Sheridan broke 
that bank down at Five Forks, and its issue hasn't been good since. 

Then *ivhat makes the difference ? You believe that the Govern- 
ment will pay that ^ye dollar bill, and therefore it has value. You 
have not the slightest dream that the Confederacy will ever pay this 
twenty dollar bill, therefore it has no value. My friend will say that 
the promise of a dead republic is worth nothing. But if it had been 
real money it would be worth to-day as much as it ever was. Suppose 
this had been a twenty dollar gold piece coined by the Confederate 
States, would not it buy twenty dollars worth to-day just as surely as 
does the twenty dollars of the United States? Think of this a mo- 

Across the ocean there was once a nation called the Dutch Republic. 
It grew so strong that it dictated law 'to Europe. Its armies swept the 
continent, and its fleets swept the sea. It is dead to-day. Its name 
lives' only in song and in story. Here is a three guilden piece that it 
issued in its day of power. There is a $20 note, that the Confederacy 
issued during its brief life. The Confederacy is dead. That paper is 
worth nothing. The Dutch Republic is dead. This silver will buy 
to-day $1.35 in American silver; $1.35 in American silver will buy 
$1.48 in American fractional currency ; and $1.48 will buy right here 
in Circleville whatever $1.48 in paper money will buy. This is the 
real money of a dead republic ; and there is what my friend calls the 
money of A dead republic. That (the Confederate note) is a rag, and 
this (the silver piece) is a truth, hard substantial money — the real 
money of a dead republic. It is better to-day than the promise of our 
living republic, for it will buy more. [Applause.] 

But my friend says there is no danger that we can repudiate ; our 
promise is good. I believe it. I have faith ib Ohio. I have faith in 
my land. I have faith in the men who stood and struggled in the 
field. I have faith in the men who are here at home. I believe that 
we will make our greenbacks good; and the first step is this: not 

16 Debate at OircleviUe, 

another dollar of them until we have made good what we have al- 
ready issued. 

You are in debt and owe $100. You can not pay the debt by sim- 
ply giving your note. Some day that note must be paid. You must 
work it out of your farm. You must save it out of your toil. Pay- 
ment is hard. It is easy to run in debt. It is easy to gamble with 
paper. It is hard to pay debts. If it is hard to pay $400,000,000 of 
greenbacks now, will it be easier when the amount is $800,000,000? 
If it will be hard to pay $800,000,000, will it be easier to pay 

In order to print those new greenbacks you must break an existing 
law. Right in the midst of the war, when we wanted to give this cur- 
rency a value, we passed a law, which is on the statute book to-day, 
that this Government would never print more than $400,000,000 of 
these greenbacks. We have got to break that law. Talk about your 
resumption law ! The original law that stands in the way is the pledge 
that we would never print but $400,000,000 ; and if my friend wants 
to discuss laws that are in the way, let him go back to the law 
that was passed during the Rebellion, which stands there now and 
which gave value to the greenback. Let him ask its repeal, for you 
can not print one additional dollar until you have repealed that law. 

Now supposing that we decide to print them, what will be the ef- 
fect? Every additional dollar that you put out, will buy less and less. 
That is inevitable. Even the Cincinnati Enquirer said the other day 
that the purchasing power of the greenback is to-day too greait, that 
it ought to be reduced. Print more greenbacks, and their purchasing 
power will be reduced. Values will go up apparently. You will have 
castles in the air. And yet right in the midst of the war a farm that 
you called worth $2,800 in paper, I could have bought with a thousand 
dollars in gold. The gold didn't change; the paper did. The power 
of the paper to buy was diminished. The apparent value of property 
went up. But there never was an hour during the war that you could 
not buy with gold almost all that you could have bought with gold be- 
fore the war. What it took $2.80 in paper to buy, a dollar in gold 
would have bought at the darkest hour during all the war. The gold 
did not change. The gold remained about the same in value all the 
while. Then the purchasing power of the greenback will be dimin- 
ished by its repeated issue. 

What will be the effect of inflation on business? It introduces an 
element of gambling. Look at it. What is money? It is a measure 
of value. You want to trade a little corn for a little cloth that I have 

Woodford's Opening Speedi. 17 

in New York. We can not very well make tl^e exchange of tlie arti- 
cles. That was the way they used to trade in barter. They swapped 
one thing for another. By and by men said, Isn't there something 
that shall represent value ? Men found that gold did this. It is no 
new dream. As far back as when Abraham bought the field where 
his dear ones were buried, he paid for it — how? In shekels of silver. 
Your burying-grounds are so bought and paid for to-day. Do what 
you will — for the law of trade, the inevitable law of cause and effect is 
stronger than your politics — back to specie payments this country must 
go. France tried paper money, and she went back to specie payment. 

Gen, Emng. — She is not back to specie payment. 

Gov. Woodford, — I said France tried paper. She printed the assig- 
not and tte mandat during the first French Revolution. She gave circula- 
tion to it until more than tw^o, thousand millions of assigned and inanr 
dat money were afloat. And then when the Empire was established in 
1803, the First Napoleon went back by force to specie payment. He 
organized the Bank of France, and put France on a specie basis. 

My friend has referred to France. I will go one step farther. You 
will pardon me for breaking right off in my argument, for I want to 
state this French question while we are at it. France became involved 
in a war with Prussia. The French Government used up all its coin. 
The Bank pf France had a great deal of coin. The Bank of France, 
which is a private corporation, is oWned by stockholders simply. It 
has a director-general, as he is called, with three receivers-general and 
three censors, and these seven officers are appointed by the Govern- 
ment; and the other twelve directors are elected by the stockholders 
precisely as the directors of a national bank ai'e here. The French 
Government said to the Bank of France, ** If you will lend us the gold 
that you have — for we shall have to use gold in fighting on Prussian 
soQ — you may print Bank of France notes." The French Government 
did not print a dollar of Government legal tender during the war with 
Prussia. The French Government authorized the Bank of France to 
print g. certain amount of its notes and practically made them legal 
tender. It excused the Bank of France from paying those notes in 
gold until the Government should have paid its debt to the Bank of 
France in gold. Then it took the gold, and the Bank of France put 
out its notes. And the Bank of France has since been gathering up 
specie. The nation of France did what ? It put out a loan. It got 
gold on the loan, and paid off part of its debt to the Bank of France. 
It owes the Bank of France to-day but $96,000,000. The Bank of 
France has notified its bill-holders, that on and after the first day of 

18 Debate at CirdeviUe. 

January, 1878, every note of the Bank of France presented at its 
counter shall be paid in gold. It redeems one year ahead of the 
United States. Consequently, the paper of the Bank of France is worth 
only one per cent, less than the gold money of the Government of 
France. [Applause.] 

Another step, and then we shall have finished with France. The 
Emperor Napoleon I. created a gold debt for France. When he was de- 
posed and -Charles the Tenth came back and represented the Bourbons 
on the French throne, the Bourbons recognized the debt of the Em- 
pire in gold and did not try to repudiate it. When the Bourbons were 
driven off and the Emperor came back for the hundred days. Napo- 
leon recognized both the debt of the First Empire and that of the 
Bourbons. Such is the record of three successive governments. 
When Louis Philippe came, as the king of the people, he recognized 
the debts of all the preceding governments in. gold. When Louis 
Philippe was driven out by the Republic of 1848, that Republic recog- 
nized all the preceding debts in gold. When that went down under 
the Second Empire, the third Napoleon recognized all the preceding 
debts in gold. When he was driven out by the Commune, the very 
French Commune never suggested to print legal tender, but accepted 
every preceding debt. And Gambetta himself, the leader of the 
Reds, recognized and stood by all the old debts of the Government. 
When he went down and the Republic of Thiers came in, that recog- 
nized every debt that had been made since 1803. And where is the 
credit of France? No Frenchman has ever talked of paper legal- 
tender issued by the Government. No Frenchman has ever talked of 
inflation. Every French Government has recognized the gold debt of 
the Governments that went before it. The result has been that French 
credit, founded on a rock, stands firm and sure. People will take 
French paper, because they know that French paper ultimately and 
surely means gold. 

When the Democrats of Ohio shall have treated the national debt 
of this country as the French Republicans treated the debt (^ the 
French Empire, then will American credit stand where French credit 
stands, with a difference between paper and gold of only one per cent. 
Then specie payment will have been restored by faith, honesty, and 
pluck — the best things' to establish credit in the world. [Applause.] 
I trust my friend is satisfied with France. [Applause.] 

Gen, Ewing, — The Bank of France paper is not redeemable. 

Gov, Woodford. — The Bank of France paper is to-day a legal tender 
ill payment of debt and is redeemable after the 1st of January, 1878. 

Woodford's Opening Speech. 19 

Gen. Ewing. — The 1st of July, 1878, in case they have the money. 

Gov. Woodford. — Tte man who says he will pay his debt and faith- 
fully tries to do it, will be far more likely to pay when pay-day comes 
around than the man who, instead of trying to pay, says I am not able 
to pay, I am not going to pay*, and I will issue more promises that I 
don't know that I ever will pay. [Applause.] Now if a debt is never 
to- be paid, then the debt will become valueless. The only value of 
the greenback is that some day you expect it paid. If you come to 
understand that it never is to be paid, then people will not want it. 
Is not that so? 

Here is some legal tender money [showing another piece of paper], 
and it reads, **The United States" — we know the name of the Na- 
tion — "eight dollars. This bill entitles the bearer to receive eight 
Spanish milled dollars, or the value thereof in gold and silver, accord- 
ing to a resolution passed by Congress at Philadelphia, September 26, 
1778." This is a Continental note. • This is the money in which they 
paid our forefathers who fought the battles of the Revolution. This 
bill was paid for the birth agony of this Government just as much as 
that greenback was paid for its preservation. That (the greenback) 
simply says, "Will pay five dollars." This Continental note says, 
"Eight Spanish milled dollars, or the value thereof in gold and 
silver." We gave this to the soldiers of the Revolution. We gave 
that to the soldiers of the Rebellion. That (the greenback) is worth 
something, because the men of Ohio, standing by the men of New 
York, intend to pay that greenback just as soon as the Government 
can do it without serious iiijury to the industry and the -business of the 
country. This (the Continental note) is worth nothing, because the 
Government has never tried to pay. It has been repudiated. Here 
is your repudiated Continental paper, worth nothing. There is your 
greenback paper promise not yet kept, and worth in gold only 
eighty-five, cents on the dollar. 

That greenback says, "Will pay five dollars." Here is the gold 
[showing a five dollar gold piece.] The only words upon its face are, 
"The United States of America," "Liberty," and the figures " 1791." 
There are not even the words " five dollars," yet every body knows 
that it is a five dollar >;oin. It is a promise kept. When we shall 
resolutely try to keep the promise of the greenback it will be good, 
like the gold it represents. 

But I wiU go farther. Suppose that you secure the la#v authorizing 
more greenbacks ; how are you going to get the money out into circu- 

20 i>ebate at OirdeviUe. 

lation? The Government has printed the greenbacks. How shall it 
get them out? 

I will read my friend a few questions, which I should like him to an- 
swer, and I shall be happy to answer in return any questions he may 

1st. Do you intend, by force of the authority of the United States, 
to pay off the bonds at their face value in greenbacks, against the 
will and protest of the bond-holders ? 

2d. If not, do you intend, by like force, to fix an arbitrary price on 
these bonds ; that is, to fix a certain greenback premium on the gold 
bond, and then pay them off by compulsion, giving the bond-holder 
the face of his bond, together with this fixed premium, in your new 

3d. If, however, the bond-holder decides to keep his bonds and will 
not take your new greenbacks, do you intend with those new green- 
backs to buy the gold and pay him off therewith ? 

4th. Or do you intend to buy the bonds in open market, just as 
every body else buys them now, and pay in your new greenbacks such 
price as the bonds may then command ? 

5th. If you thus buy bonds in open market, what do you think wiU 
be the effect on the premium on gold, and how much will the volume 
of greenbacks be probably increased ? 

6th. Do you ever intend to redeem in coin the new greenbacks so 
issued ? 

Gentlemen, I thank you right heartily for your patient attention, 
and know that you will be more than repaid when you come to hear 
the eloquence of the gentleman who follows me. 

{^Time enqdred,'] 


Mr. Chairman and FeUoto-Citizens : — 

I congratulate you on the fact that we have^ here to-day the oppor- 
tunity of discussing face to face the only issue in this campaign — the 
money question. Instead of having it debated by a Eepublican orator 
to one set of hearers, and a Democratic orator to another — Democrats 
and Republicans have assembled at this meeting to hear and coijipare 


Ewing's Reply, 21 

the arguments of the two opposing sides, and therefore will be better 
prepared to determine the merits of the issue now before the people. 

My friend starts out with tl^ statement that I do n't represent the 
Democrats of New York, or of Oregon, or Nebraska, or of a number 
of other Northern States settled largely from New York and New Eng- 
land, and specially under Eastern influence. It is quite true. It is 
enough that I appear here to represent the views of the Democrats of 
the State of Ohio. They have iaken a position upon this finance 
question which they believe to be in the interests of the whole people 
of the State. They have not carefully followed party precedent. 
They have not looked back and determined the living issue of this 
campaign by dead platforms. They have met this money question 
which has been forced into signal prominence by the terrific panic of 
1873, and the utter prostration of business which has followed it, as a 
new question, and declared for what they believe to be the present 
rights and interests of the American people of all parties "upon it. 
That is what a party is for — to represent the living issues as they rise ; 
and if the Democratic party were so lifeless, or so subjugated to prece- 
dents or to the influence of the powerful section which the gentleman 
warns me we differ from, as to shun this issue, it would be an unfit ^ex- 
ponent of the American people. I wish to say, however, by way of 
vindication of my personal consistency, that although an early return 
to specie payments was in the platforms of both political parties of 
1872, I never made a speech in that canvass in which I did not de- 
clare that I spat upon that plank of the platform. 

The gentleman says I appear here reflecting the views of the gamb- 
lers of Wall Street. Indeed ! The gamblers of Wall Street handle 
many millions of dollars every day. They have powerful political or- 
gans to represent them. They have newspapers in New York, in Cin- 
cinnati, in Saint Louis, and in all the great money centers of the 
country. Would one judge from those papers that the Democrats of 
Ohio were instigated to adopt the platform they have adopted by the 
wishes of the gamblers of Wall Street ? What say the organs of the 
gamblers ? What says the New York World, the New York Herald, 
the New York Times — the facile tools of that vast money power? 
They cry out, as the gentleman from New York cries out, in favor of a 
swift return to specie payment at all hazards. Every one of them 
sings the same song. Every one of them will applaud the speech he 
made here, and the speeches he may make throughout Ohio in this 
campaign. Yes — they will pat him on the back — '* You are the man ; 
you are doing it ! you are right ! go ahead ! " Fortunately in this 

22 Debate at ClrdemUe, 

campaign, so far as I have been noticed at all, I have received nothing 
from the organs of Wall Street but denunciation and ridicule. [Ap- 
plause.] The New York Herald, in a n^oney article a week ago, said in i 
substance : *' Let the Democrats carry Ohio and Pennsylvania if they [/ 
can on their greenback platform. , The money power has ruled and ; 
will evej rule the politics of this country, no matter what the Demo- 
crats of those two States may say." That is their feeling — the arro- ; 
gance which grows out of the belief that the vast accumulation of 
wealth, in the eastern section of this country, can wheedle the pubHc 
men of both political parties, and make both parties the mere instru- 
ments for executing the wiU of the money power. 

I will foUow the course of the gentleman's argument. He takes up 
the Ohio platform and discusses it section by section. " The contrac- 
tion of the currency heretofore made by the Republican party." He 
says the Republican party did n't make it ; if his argument means 
any thing, it means that it was done by the Democrats. Is that so ? 
Read the very resolution which he quotes, under which McCulloch in- 
itiated the contraction of the currency — the legislation under which 
$1,200,000,000 of Treasury notes bearing currency interest, and com- 
prising the great bulk of the interest-bearmg debt — a debt held by the 
mass of the people, and so distributed over the country that it was 
easy to be borne because the interest on it was received by the people 
who paid it back to the Government as taxes — that vast public debt of 
$1,200,000,000 of interest-bearing Treasury notes was converted into 
gold bonds and sold in Europe under a resolution passed by a Con- 
gress overwhelmingly Republican, and passed, too, before Andrew 
Johnson had the slightest quarrel with the Republican party. He 
was then not only a sound Republican, but supposed to be one of the 
most violent, and if any thing, too violent, by the mass of the party. 
Then it was that this contraction was initiated under the auspices of 
John Sherman, who was then as now the dictator of the finance meas- 
ures of the Republican party, and of Hugh McCulloch, who has ever 
been one of the staunchest supporters of that party. 

Fellow-citizens, it is true the Republican party subsequently fell out 
w^ith Andrew Johnson on the reconstruction question. It is true that 
in 1868 they made violent war upon him for obeying that Constitution 
which he had sworn to support, and which they knew the grand old man 
would rather have been burned at the stake than have failed to support. 
They seized him as a criminal and dragged him to the bar of the Senate 
for daring to appoint a Secretary of War in place of the demigod of 
the Republican party, who then usurped the office — for doing only that 

Eming'B Reply. 23 

which every President had always done, and which every intelligent 
man knew he had a right to do. Yes, you fell out with him then — 
fell out with him because he was not a suppliant tool of the party, and 
willing to violate the Constitution of his country for the purpose of ac- 
complishing fhe subjugation and republicanization of the Southern 
States. [Cheers.] But while he was engaged in contracting the cur- 
rency, or rather, while the Eepublican party was contracting it under 
their laws and resolutions, Andrew Johnson was in perfect accord with 
that party, and was lauded and supported by it. 

What was this contraction ? It was not only the sweeping out of 
this $1,200,000,000 of notes bearing currency interest held among the 
people, and the conversion of them into gold bonds to be sold abroad, 
and to piake this co'untry, as a borrower, the servant to England and 
Germany as the lenders ; but it was also an actual contraction of the 
greenback, and the national bank currency amounting, when you con- 
sider population and growth, to about forty per cent, between the cir- 
culation of 1865 and the circulation at the time of the panic. The 
wiping out of that $1,200,000,000 of interest- bearing Treasury notes, 
and the relative contraction of 40 per cent, of the currency, bearing 
no in teres!, brought on the panic which prostrated the industries of 
the country, and before they had fully risen to their feet again, the 
passage of the resumption law utterly and hopelessly prostrated them. 

The gentleman says he didn't come here to defend the resumption 
law. He says it is not the principal issue in this canvass. I say it 
is the issue over all others. I don't wonder he is afraid to defend 
it. [Cheers.] If he had the temerity to defend that law before the 
people, he would have a blinder courage than any Republican orator 
in this land has yet shown. [Applause.] The. principal framers of 
the law dare not mention its name when they come before the people. 
It is a law under the operation of which $30,000,000 of the currency 
has been destroyed in the past six months, and under the operation 
of which one-half the currency of this country has gone out of cir- 
culation, — gone into the vaults of the banks and the gamblers in 
Wall Street, who are holding it for the seventeen per cent, premium 
that they are to get when the day of resumption arrives, — holding 
it until the industries of the country perish for want of money, — 
holding it while all property and labor falls, while all business lan- 
guishes, while every thing goes down, down, down, except the al- 
mighty dollar and bond, which go up, up, up. He does n't defend the 
law. Why not? Isn't it a Republican measure? Who passed it? 
Every Republican senator voted for it; every Democratic senator 

24 Debate at CirdeviUe. 

against it. In the House, every Republican representative, with the 
exception of two or three, voted for it ; every Democratic representa- 
tive, without exception, against it. The President approved it; the 
Ohio Republican State Convention indorsed the finance policy of the 
Administration, and tl>is is a section of that policy. WRy does n't the 
gentleman defend it ? Why does he say it is no issue in this canyass ? 
Is it a small matter to fix a day, only a little over three years hence, 
when this nation must be prepared for resumption of specie payment 
on the vast sum of currency we now have afloat, or in the alterna- 
tive, if we can not resume specie payment with this vast suin, must 
submit to have the. currency cut down to probably one-fourth of its 
present volume? Is this so trifling an affair, this law on tlie stiitute- 
book binding on the Secretary of the Treasury, and which he is now 
carrying out ? This is not an issue, he says, in this canvass ; but Jiis 
interpretation of the Ohio Democratic platform respecting the volume 
of the currency is the great issue before the people. As iie has put 
some questions to me, I will have', before I .close, some (questions to 
put to him in regard to this resumption law. [Applause.] 

Goveriuxr Woodford. — I w^ill answer tliem. General, as best I can. 

General Eidng. — Yes, sir, I have no doubt of it. Ihf says this 
resumption law is an inflation measure ; it is not contraction at all. 
Why is it inflation? Because, he says, that banking is made free 
under this law, and for every ^100 of new bank notes issued only 
$80 of greenbacks are taken up and destroyed, leaving the people 
with twenty per cent, more currency. I beg to suggest to him that 
that provision for the retirement of only eighty per cent, of the green- 
backs is made because the bank reser\"es make up the balance, the banks 
being compelled to hold reserves of between fifteen and twenty-five per 
cent, at different points, and it was thought twenty per cent, would be 
about an average reserve, and therefore we would keep the volume of 
the currency the same when new bank notes were issued, if twenty per 
cent, less of greenbacks were destroyed. So there is no inflation in that 
provision. Now let us see h6w much more inflation there is in the re* 
sumption law. It commands the Secretary of the Treasury as s])ecdil}' 
iii5 practicable to buy silver, coin it, and take up all the fractional cur 
rency and destroy it. The law does n't say destroy, but I say that is what 
it means — destroy it. There are about $44,000,000 of fractional cur- 
rency, at least there were when this law was passed. The Secretary 
of the Treasury, it appears by statements that he has made, has already- 
retired $2,600,000 of it — retired by redemption with new silver c^oin. 
Has the silver taken its place in your pocket? [A voice, ^' Not much."] 

Ewing's Eeply, 25 

Speak out. [Voices, "No," "no," "no."] Is there nobody in this 
crowd that has part of that $2,600,000 of silver? There is nobody 
here ; there is nobody in Ohio, nor in the Scioto Valley, nor outside of 
New York City, nor outside of Wall Street, nor outside of two or three 
pet brokers' houses in Wall Street. [Cheers.] Not a dime of it ha^ 
ever been seen outside of the hands of those brokers who have had the 
privilege of sending in fractional currency and getting silver in its 
place — new silver, to be sold at from ^ye to eight per cent, premium, 
and to be shipped to Califori^ia, or Oregon, or Nevada, or China, or 
Japan, where it is money. It will not be money to you, my friends. 
The work is going on. The Secretary of the Treasury has already 
added 512,000,000 to the bonded debt by the purchase of silver- 
bought it with new ^\e per cent, bonds in Europe — bought the old 
silver that Germany had cast out, demonetized, and gave ^ve per 
cent, gold bonds of the people of the United States to the amount 
of 811,000,000 for the purpose of coining the silver and destroying 
the fractional currency — for the purpose of putting five to eight per 
cent, on the volume into the hands of some treasury pets. That is 
all there is of it. [Applause.] 

A voice. — How many millions ? 

Gencixd Ewing. — He got 812,000,000 of silver. He issued about 
$11,000,000 of five per cent, gold bonds and bought the silver. 
Under the provisions of tliis law, the Secretary of the Treasury is 
bound as speedily as practicable to wipe out the whole of our frac- 
tional currency, and add about $44,000,000 to the bonded debt of 
the United States — and for what purpose? To coin this $44,000,000 
of silver to be shipped off — because silver has been at a premium of 
never less than five, and at times as high as eight, per cent, every 
hour since that law was passed; and every man knows that if the 
silver were at a premium of (me per cent., it wouldn't remain in 
circulation, but would go into the brokers' shops to be shipped away. 
I made this point in my speech at Findlay some weeks ago, which 
was reviewed in an editorial in the Chicago Times; and the TinieSy 
although a violent specie resumption paper, said : " That point is well 
taken; the silver can not remain in circulation; it will be shipped 
off." But then it said, after all, the people would not be very greatly 
inconvenienced, because, although they w^ould lose the United States 
fractional money, the merchants and grocers would issue fractioiial 
shin-plasters to take its place. [Laughter.] That is, they add 
$44,000,000 to our bonded debt for the sake of getting merchants' 
and grocers' shin-plasters in place of i our fractional currency. Now, 

26 Debate at OirdeviUe. 

there is not much mflation in that, my friend — not much. There is 
some inflation of the debt, but no inflation of the currency. [Applause.] 

This law further provides that the Secretary of the Treasury may sell 
^ye per cent, gold bonds, for the purpose of accumulating gold enough 
by the first day of January, 1879, to redeem and pay all the greenbacks 
that may be presented. There are $375,000,000 of greenbacks besides 
the fractional currency. He must provide $375,000,000 of gold. How 
is he to get it? The law says he may provide it out of the surplus 
revenues. But the revenues last year fell short of the expenditures. 
Congress added $35,000,000 of additional taxes last winter. But my 
friend now claims that the revenues this year are between thirteen and 
fojirteen millions more than the expenses. Well, the thirteen or fourteen 
millions will not provide $375,000,000 of gold by the first of January, 
1879, in addition to the $44,000,000 of silver to redeem and destroy 
the fractional currency. And so, in effect, this law provides that the 
Secretary of the Treasury must add somewhere between four hundred 
and four hundred and nineteen millions to the five per cent, gold bonded 
debt of the United States for the purpose of destroying the only free 
money that the American people now have — leaving us after the day 
' of resumption dependent only on national bank money, that costs the 
Republic five per cent, on every dollar of it. I say leaving us, after the 
day of the resumption — because, in view of the fact that we haven't now 
by a hundred millions as much gold as we had before the war, that we 
are now shipping to Europe $30,000,000 of gold a year more than the 
present production of our mines added to all that corties to us by emi- 
grants ; in view of the last drain of gold abroad, the immense demand 
for it for customs, and to pay the interest on our bonded debt abroad, 
no man can doubt that the holders of the greenbacks, when the first 
day of January, 1879, comes round, will present them for redemption 
and get the gold — gold that we have added four hundred to four 
hundred and nineteen millions to our bonded debt to acquire. 

When the greenbacks are presented and redeemed, that law in effect 
provides that they shall never again go into circulation. I asked my 
friend to discuss the law, yesterday, at Lancaster, and he did. But 
he claimed that after the greenbacks were redeemed once, th^y might 
be re-issued by the Secretary of the Treasury and be redeemed again. 
That is, after we had provided $375,000,000 of gold to redeem them 
once, he might re-issue them, and, if he did, would be compelled to go 
on, buying gold, redeeming greenbacks, buying gold and redeeming 
greenbacks, sending the greenbacks out whenever they came back, to 
flow out again as gold. Why, where would be the end of our public 

Em)i^8 Reply. 27 

debt under that armngement ? But that will not do. We know the 
purpose of the law. The purpose is to destroy the costless money of 
the people-y-to make the American people dependent solely on the 
national banks for their money, and give the banks five per cent, for 
the privilege of controlling the currency of the country. [Applause.] 

He says the word ** redeem " does not carry the idea of destruction ; 
that a national bank^ would redeem a note and might re-issue it. 
Yes, but that word " redeem " is used here twice in the same section 
of this resumption law. Section 3 provides that when a new national 
bank is formed, the Secretary of the Treasury shall redeem an amount 
of greenbacks equal to eighty per cent, of the new national bank notes 
issued ; provided the aggregate of redemptions by reason of uicrease 
of the national blank issues sha'n't cut the greenbacks down below 
$300,000,000. That is a guarantee only that the volume of green- 
backs shall remain as high as $300,000, 000 until the first of January, 
1879. But on and after the first of January, 1879, the Secretary of 
the Treasury shall redeem in gold all the United States legal tender 
notes then outstanding — the whole of them. Now, some new national 
banks have been formed and new bank notes issued, and the Secretary 
of the Treasury has taken in eighty per cent, of the amount of such 
new issues in greenbacks. He has ** redeemed " them. What has he 
done with them ? The columns of the Cincinnati CommeroUd, of day 
before yesterday, will show you. A bulletin from the Treasury Depart- 
ment says that the Secretary of the Treasury humed the greenbacks 
so " redeemed." That is what he understands by the word " redemp- 
tion." And that is the word that is applicable both to the legal "ten- 
ders that are turned in by reason of the new bank note issues and to 
the legal tenders which, after the first of January, 1879, shall be re- 
deemed in coin. 

Well, now, fellow-citizens, so much for this law. What is the gen- 
ius and spirit of it ? It is to force all debtors throughout the United 
States, who have made debts payable in currency, to pay them in 
coin. And in order to establish coin redemption they destroy the 
greenbacks and throw the whole volume of the currency into the hands 
and under the discretion of that money power which has created and 
controlled the vast system of national banks. It means the death of 
both the fractional currency and the greenback on and after the first 
of January, 1879. We are to have no more. We are to pay $4l9,- 
000,000 for the purpose of destroying this costless currency. That is 
the issue. It is big enough to be an issue in this canvass. It seems 
to me that its proportions are sufficiently vast, and the position of the 

28 Debate at GirdeviUe. 

Republican party upon it sufficiently well defined to call on gentlemen 
who come here to represent that party to stand by this great resump- 
tion law which is the climax and consummation of its finance measures. 

The gentleman shows you a gold ^\e dollar piece and a greenback 
five dollar bill. He is giving you, gentlemen, ''object lessons" like 
those given in the children's schools [laughter], evidently upon the 
theory that you could not understand the question at all unless he act- 
ually held up the veritable glittering ^we dollar piece. Now let us 
see about his lessons. " Here is the five dollar greenback, and there 
is the five dollar gold piece," he said to the miners at Shawnee; 
"now which would you rather have?" Rather doggedly one of the 
miners exclaimed, '* I would rather have the greenback." [Laughter.] 
But that wasn't a fair answer to the question. The gold piece is worth 
five dollars and eighty-five cents, my friend says, and the greenback is 
worth five dollars. That is true. Other things being equal, I admit 
I would rather have the gold. I would rather have eighty-five cents 
more than five dollars than just five dollars. Somebody or other com- 
menting on this finance question recently, said : " Money is close, but 
not close enough to reach." [Laughter.] Well, it is a good deal so 
with his specie payment. It is not close enough to reach. What con- 
dition are we in to reach it? We intend to be as honest as the gentle- 
man from New York. The Democracy have no more interest for dis- 
honest money than the Republicans. I think we can compare pretty 
favorably either party or personal records on the mere que^^tion of per- 
sonal or public morality. So that as far as good faith and honor are 
concerned, I guess we are about, as sensitive on the subject as the Re- 
publicans or any of their representatives. Now let us see what is the 
honorable thing ; the thing that good faith and good conscience demand. 

When the war broke out the Government was forced to issue this 
legal tender paper money. I notice that my friend does not repeat 
here what he said at Shawnee and Lancaster, that the power to issue 
paper money was got outside of the Constitution. [A voice, " Oh!"] 
[Laughter.] He said at Shawnee, in efiect that the Republican party 
had violated the Constitution in issuing the greenback, but did it by 
reason of the national peril and the right of self-preservation. But at 
Lancaster he modified his position somewhat, and rather complained 
of me, for my construction of his remarks at Shawnee, saying that that 
was n't what he meant at all ; that what he meant was that the power 
was not given in the Constitution to issue the legal tenders, but the 
Government got the power outside. Well, now, I had supposed that 

Ewing^s Reply. 29 

the General Government was a Government of only delegated power. 
I had supposed that all its powers are derived from grants in the Con- 
stitution. That is according to my notion and the way I was brought 
up. It may be all wrong. But if there is a grant outside of the Con- 
stitution, where is the evidence of it? And if the Government has any 
power outside of the Constitution, why hasn't it one power outside as well 
as another ? And if it has not only all powers that are granted in the 
Constitution but also all powers that are outside of the Constitution, we 
might as well drop the Constitution altogether. [Laughter and applause. J 
The Republican party is pretty hard driven when it says it had to 
violate the Constitution to make the legal ' tenders. I was a member 
of the Republican party in those days. I didn't understand it to be 
violating the Constitution. I was a Republican believing that the Con- 
stitution which was the bond of Union was in peril, and that this Gov- 
ernment should vindicate the Constitution and the Union by all the 
powers that were delegated to it, and none other. [Cheers.] And 
while I assented generally to the leading measures of the Republican 
party during the war — not all of them, it is true, for any party in 
power under such intense emergencies would have committed errors — 
while I assented to the general course and management of the war, and 
most cordially to the issuing of this legal tender money — this money 
that almost more than our arms themselves gave us the victory and 
saved the Republic, — I never understood, and I believe it is a wrong 
to the Republican party of the war to say that it violated the Con- 
stitution in issuing this money. [Applause.] The Supreme Court says 
that the issue was legal, that it was ** an appropriate means in the ex- 
ecution of a granted power" — naming among the granted powers of 
which it was ** an appropriate means," the power to provide revenues — 
a power existing in peace as well as in war. But the modern Repub- 
lican party, the instrument of that money power which has gathered 
to itself the vast national. State, corporate, and^^rivate debts, until 
they rise now like a mountain to a sum of ten or twelve billions of 
dollars — that party which made the greenback in which these vast 
debts were created, and in which they are payable, comes now and 
says that the issue was unconstitutional, and the money bogus ! [Ap- 
plause.] He talks about the paternity of the " Rag Baby." Ah ! 
the "Rag Baby" is thirteen years old. [Applause and laughter.] It 
is no baby any longer. You thought it was very bright and promis- 
ing as a baby, but you spurn and reject it now. 

To go back a little to this argument, which is at the bottom of the 
logic of my friend — this question of public morals. He says that the 

30 Debate at CircleviUe. 

greenback dollar was taken by the American people because of the 
promise on its face to pay one dollar, which, he says, means gold. 
Well, it is admitted that it means gold. Now every man understood 
why the Government issued that money. It was because it had n't 
and couldn't get the gold and silver to pay the cost of the war. 
When it was issued every man knew that that promise did n't mean to 
pay to-morrow or next day. When it was issued every man knew 
there were two kinds of public debt being created by the United 
States. One was a^ bonded debt, bearing interest payable at fixed 
dates, so that the man who bought knew when he was to get his in- 
terest and when his principal. The certainty of getting the interest 
and the principal at the dates prescribed, was the inducement to in- 
vest in that form of the public debt. Here was another kind of debt — 
the legal tender note. A man did n't invest in that with the idea of 
getting gold for it. He did n't look on the face of it for his reason for 
taking it ; he looked on the back. It said, " This note ^s a legal 
tender for all debts, public and private, except duties on imports and 
interest on the public debt." That is why he took it. He took it be- 
cause, if he owed his neighbor, his neighbor must take it from him in 
payment. He took it because, if a judgment were rendered against 
him for money, that note was money within the meaning of the law 
and the judgment of the courts. He took it because it would pay all 
his taxes, all his internal revenue dues, every thing that he owed in 
any form to the public, every thing that he owed in any form to indi- 
viduals. In short, he took it because it was money, within the under- 
standing of the people of the country; because the law made it money; 
because the law declared it should perform every office for which 
money is used. What is money used for but to pay debts, dues to 
Government, and to exchange for values ? Nothing else. Does the 
gentleman mean to say that, but for the promise to pay gold for that 
note, nobody would take it when every body owes taxes, when every 
body owes debts, and when that note would pay them all? And, 
gentlemen, that indorsement upon that note gave it all the use ^at 
the people have for money. It was n't taken on the faith of the prom- 
ise to pay gold at all. It was taken with the full understanding that 
the Government couldn't pay gold then and did n't know when it could ; 
that it depended on the general chances of the war and on the future 
interests of the people. That promise upon the face of the bill, in- 
definite as to time, meant simply this: "This note shall be paid when- 
ever it is for the general interest that specie payment shall be resumed." 
Now there is no use of talking about public faith any fiirther. That 

Emng's Reply. 31 


is the true interpretation of this promise, and there is not a man in this 
audience but that knows it. Yet you come here talking about " pub- 
lic faith," as if we were violating public faith in not resuming on the 
instant that the holders of these vast securities, created and payable in 
that paper money, demand specie payment. 

The gentleman, *the other day at Lancaster, ridiculing this money, 
talked about Captain Cook and the Sandwich Islanders and cowry 
shells — of Cook's making cowry shells legal tender until he got all the 
gold of the savages. 

A Voice. — Jay Cooke? 

Gen. Evdng. — No; it wasn't Jay Cooke, but his ancestor, perhaps. 
He said after this cowry shell business had gone on for a while, it 
turned out that Captain Cook and his party had all the gold and the 
Sandwich Islanders alt the cowry shells. Then cowry shells became 
not SO" much legal tender as they had been. Well, his illustration was 
not so bad after all. Pretty good. When this greenback money was 
put afloat to a large amount, and the prices all adapted to it, the Gov- 
ernment issued their five-twenty bonds. They said to every man that 
had these cowry shells — these .greenbacks — let the Government have 
a thousancl dollars of cowry shiells, and we will give you a bond for a 
thousand dollars, with interest at six per cent., payable in gold, and 
the principal payable in the cowry shells that we get from you for the 
bonds. [Laughter.] Well, that seemed to be fair ; and these gentlemen 
who had the cowry shells turned them over to the Government and got 
the bonds, to the amount of about $1,600,000,000 of the public debt. 
They gave the greenbacks for the bonds. The Government said, *' We 
will pay you six per cent., in gold, interest on the face of the bonds for 
five years, and then we will pay you back in these same greenbacks 
that we got from you." Well, after these bond-holders (Captain Cook 
and his party) had got bonds for $1,600,000,000 of their cowry shells, 
and had drawn gold interest for five years, and the time had come for 
the Government to redeem - the bonds with cowries, they just passed 
this little act of 1869, saying that these bonds are not to be redeemed 
in cowries but in gold. [Applause.] 

The gentleman says — and as I am on that topic now I will advert 
to that part of his argument — "You can't issue any more greenbacks." 
Why not? Because the Act of 1864 declares that the whole issue of 
greenbacks shall never exceed $400,000,000. That is so. That was 
the act that provided that the five-twenty bonds should be issued. 
There had been former acts authorizing the issue, but that act provided 
that a new issue of five-twenty bonds should be sold for greenbacks at 

32 Debate at CirdemUe. 

par; the act providing and the greenback declaring, in effect ujon its 

face, that after the Government had paid six per cent, gold interest on 
the bond for five years, then the Government might take up the bond 
for the same greenbacks that it got for them. That is the law. That 
ia the law as interpreted by John Sherman, who declared that " any 
bond-holder who asked any thing else but greenbacks for his bond w^as 
a repudiator and an extortioner." That is the position taken by the 
Republican party in 1868. It came before the people of Ohio asking 
them to put it again in power. And the people of Ohio, supposing 
that the Republican party ^yould deal fairly by them respecting this 
vast body of public debt, and leave to them the right to pay those 
five-twenty bonds in the same greenbacks that they got for them, 
joined with the people of Indiana, to whom the party through their 
State Convention made the same pledge, and elected General Grant; 
and yet in the first fourteen days after his inauguration that party 
passed an act robbing the people of the right to pay those bonds in 
the money that they got for tliem, and compelling them to pay every 
dollar of that $1,600,000,000 in gold — in a currency worth then thirty 
per cent, more than the currency that they got for them, and which 
they agreed to pay them in. It was an infamous act of robbery. It 
was a robbery greater than any ever committed by any Government 
upon a foreign nation. No Government ever robbed a nation with 
which it was at war of a sum equal to that $500,000,000 or 
$600,000,000 which were stripped from the American people by the 
infamous Act of 1869, called ** An act to preserve the public credit.*' 

The gentleman asks me whether we would pay those bonds in gold. 
Well, fellow- citizens, I will give him an answer that may surprise you 
and him. I can hardly refer to that act without an insuppressible feel- 
ing of indignation. And yet that act is a law, passed by unworthy 
and dishonest agents of the American people, but still by their' agents." 
The people trusted the Republican party. The people trusted the 
honor of that party as declared by its Ohio State Convention in 1868, 
when it said: "The Republican party pledges itself to the faithful 
p9,yment of the public debt: and according to the laws under which 
the five-twenty bonds were issued, they should be paid in- the currency 
of the country which may be a legal tender when the Government is 
prepared to redeem said bonds." They trusted in the honor of the 
Republicans of Indiana, who declared in 1868 that " the bonds of the 
United States should be paid in legal tender except where, by their ex- 
press terms, they provide otherwise." You believed them. John 

Evdncfs Meply^ 33 

Sherman came before you in that canvass saying that any man who 
demanded gold for those bonds was **a repudiator and an extortioner/* 
How could you believe that he would go back to Washington, and 
within six months himself introduce that act of repudiation and ex- 
tortion which robbed you of the right to pay the bonds according to 
the contract as iaterpreted by himself? You were fooled and 
swindled — not to put too fine a point on it. [Laughter.] But they 
were your agents. There is that law which the subsequent purchaser 
of the bond had a right to look to when he made the purchase ; and 
that law says that the bond shall be paid in gold. And I say now to 
the gentleman, that so far as those bonds have changed hands on the 
faith of that law, utterly as I detest it as an act of wanton violation of 
faith by the Republican party, I would abide by it. [Applause.] 

A Voice. — Repudiate the men that passed it. 

Gen. Emng. — ^Yes. Repudiate the men that passed it. [Applause.] 
Thank you, my friend, that is worth any five minutes of my speech. 

Now I will go to the other questions : "Do you intend by force of 
the authority of the United States to pay off the bonds at their face 
value, against the will and protest of the bond-holder?" I think the 
question answered already. 

Gm. Woodford. — You mean no? 

Gen. Ewing. — I think I have sufficiently answered it. But if men 
who held the bonds before the Act of 1869 shall hold them when the 
people get control of this Government through agents who wiil exe- 
cute the original contract, I would make them take the money that 
they gave for them. [Applause.] That is what I mean. [_Voices — 
" That's it," " That's it."] Now the question is answered, isn't it? 

Gov. Woodford. — Very squarely, very squarely, as I knew it would 

Gen. Ewing. — "If not, do you intend by law to fix an arbitrary 
price on these bonds — that is, to fix a certain greenback premium on 
the gold bond — then pay them off by compulsion, giving the bond- 
holder the face of his bond, together with this fixed premium in your 
new greenbacks ? " I, for one, do n't intend that at all. As far as we 
have a right to pay off any of those bonds in greenbacks — that is as 
far as they are held by men who held them before the act of repudia- 
tion and extortion of 1869 was passed — they are payable in green- 
backs. Those who took them afterwards on the faith of that act have 
a right to hold them as long as they please, until the Government pays 
them par in gold. 

34 Ddxxte at OlrdevUle. 


"If, however, the bond-holder decides to keep his bonds and not take 

your new greenbacks, do you intend with your greenbacks to buy this 
gold and pay them off therewith ? " Well, I am not Secretary of the 
Treasury. [Laughter.] That is a mere matter of detail that I pre- 
sume it is not worth while for me to go into. 

"Or do you intend to buy the bonds in open market just as every 
body buys them now, and pay in your new greenbacks such price as 
ihe bonds may then command?" As to this matter of "new greeu- 
backs,'* we do propose to issue S350,000,000 of greenbacks to take in 
and destroy $350,000,000 of bank money. [Cheers.] I want you to 
understand that now distinctly. We are for open war on this usurpa- 
tion by private corporations of the sovereign function of making the 
money of the people. [Cries of " Good," " Good," and applause.] 
And we are not hired by Wall Street to make the fight. [Applause.] 
I mean to cast no reflection on my antagonist in this debate. I know 
that he is a gentleman who is here from conviction of what is his 
duty as an American citizen. But we don't represent the views of 
Wall Street brokers, nor of Tammany, nor of the Manhattan Club, nor 
of the New York World, thank God. [Applause.] 

"If you thus buy bonds in open market, what do you think will be 
the effect on the premium on gold, and how much will the greenback 
debt be probably increased ? " As to premium on gold I will give the 
gentleman a suggestion — that we propose that there sha'n't be quite 
sucb an overwhelming demand for gold. We propose to help redeem 
this promise of the Government to make the greenback good by making 
it receivable for all that part of the customs which is not necessary for 
the payment of the interest on the public debt. As it is now, the 
Government, repudiating the greenback to a large extent, denying it 
the power of money to pay any part of the customs, receives all the 
custonis in gold, which is a sum of gold larger than the Government 
needs to pay interest on the debt ; and hence it is a mere broker of the 
balance. We want the Government to go out of the gold brokerage 
business. We want it to have just as little to do with the gold room 
and the gold brokers as practicable ; and to collect at the customs only 
the gold that it needs for interest on the public debt, and let the bal- 
ance of the customs be paid in that money which the people use. I 
think this policy will reduce the premium on gold, which arises, to a 
large extent, from this exorbitant and unnecessary demand for over 
$200,000,000 of gold every year to pay customs when the Government 
don't need more than half the sum to pay the interest on its debt. 

"Do you ever intend to redeem in coin the new greenbacks so is- 

Ikving's Reply. 35 

sued?" My friend, read the Ohio Democratic platfornj. [Laughter.] 
Read it. It is not very cleverly written, but it seems to contain a good 
deal of sentiment that the people think mighty good. 

The Ohio Democracy say, Stop this contraction of the currency j 
do n't add this $419,000,000 to the bonded debt for the sake of redeem- 
ing and destroying this costless money of the people; reduce the 
public debt over $300,000,000 by issuing greenbacks in place of the 
national bank notes, and with the greenbacks buy in the open market, 
if you please, the bonds, except so far as national banks or others may 
hold them who held them before the act of 1869 was passed; those 
bonds the Government would have the right to pay off in greenbacks. 
But the banks are too smart to be still holding the five-twenty bonds. 
They got that act of 18Q9 passed in order that they might settle this 
question about the payment of those bonds in greenbacks ; and as soon 
as it was passed they sold their five-twenties at a big premium — a pre- 
mium that arose from that act of repudiation and extortion — and 
bought five per cent, forty years' bonds and put them in the Treasury, 
, They are all right. [Laughter.] I think that an administration rep- 
resenting the interests of the people — such an administration as the 
people of Ohio and Pennsylvania will in effect secure by the October 
and November elections this year — such an administration will issue 
greenbacks in place of the national bank notes, pay off at par such 
of the five-twenty bonds as can justly be paid in greenbacks, and buy 
such as can not be so paid in the open market with the new green- 
backs, cancel the bonds, and thus reduce the interest-bearing public 
debt over $300,000,000. [Cheers.] The difference between the pol- 
icies of the two parties being, that the Republicans propose to add to 
the interest-bearing bonded debt $419,000,000, and we propose to re- 
duce it a little over $300,000,000, without wronging any body. 

To go back to that limitation to $400,000,000. He says you cau't 
without national dishonor issue more than $400,000,000 of greenbacks, 
because this act of 1864 declares that the volume shall never exceed 
that aggregate. That was an act providing also for the issue of five- 
twenty bonds. It said to the people, *' Here, now, take these six per 
cent, gold bonds, and give us greenbacks at par. We will pay you 
six per cent, annually in gold, and at the end of five years we have the 
right to pay you back in greenbacks. To assure you that w^e will 
pay in greenbacks just as good as you give us, we promise not to in- 
crease the present volume of $400,000,000." There was the promise. 
And when they violated the people's part of that contract, and said that 
the people should n't pay these bonds in the greenbacks that they got 

36 Debate at CirdevUle. 

for them, they. still maintained that somebody — God knows who, cer- 
tainly not the bond-holders — had a right to hold the people to the prop- 
osition that they never will issue more than $400,0|PO,000. For the Ke- 
publican party, after having repudiated that contract, to come before 
the people of Ohio, and claim that, although the right of the people 
to pay the bonds in greenbacks has been robbed from them, still the 
people are boimd not to issue any more than $400,000,000 ; to do that- 
well — it requires the cheek of a Government mule. [Laughter.] 

" More greenbacks," the gentleman said, was the cry which greeted 
me at Shawnee. I guess that was so. That was a town of about 
2,000 people before the panic, before this screw had been turned, and 
turned, and turned, until it screwed the very life-blood out of the 
business of the country. About 2,000 people — men who had bought 
little homes there, or bought lots and built houses. I see a friend be- 
fore me who knows something of business down there. 

A voice, — You bet, I do. 

Gen, Efwing. — And the records of Perry County will show that over 
half the men that bought their homes there have lost them in two 
years past, and those who still have them are suffering foreclosures 
and sales for the third or two-thirds balance of purchase money. 

From those mining and manufacturing communities were sent out 
the men whom' Republican orators and newspapers denounce and scoff 
at as tramps. Some loafers among them, probably, but many, many 
more, fellow-citizens, who left their families in those mining and man- 
ufacturing towns, breadless, shoeless, clotheless, in the terribly incle- 
ment winter of last year — ^left them to wander out in a hopeless search 
for work. In my own town of Lancaster our little jail was filled many 
nights with stalwart, sober young men — filled so that in some of those 
inclement nights they had not room to lie down ; seeking the jail at 
night to keep from freezing, and walking by day from town to, town — 

" Begging their brothers of the earth 
To give them leave to toil." 

Ah I if my friend knew it, that cry of "more greenbacks" was a cry 
that came from the wrung hearts of those poor men. [Applause.] 
More greenbacks meant : " Let industry revive I " More greenbacks 
meant: "Take off this terrible dread of the reduction of the currency 
which paralyzes the industries in which our labor is employed." It 
meant : " Tell the business men of this country that $419,000,000 of 
their money out of $750,000,000 shall not be destroyed by the first 
of January, 1879." It meant: " Tell the usurers of this country they 

Woo^ord^s Bejoinder. 87 

need not hoard up money for the sake of the sixteen or seventeen 
per cent, premium." It meant : " Tell the hoarders of money, You 
may trust your money out again in the ordinary business of the 
country, because this turning of the contraction screw shall stop." 
Why should men trust money now in the ordinary business of the 
country? They shoilld not, if they are prudent. There isn't one bus- 
iness man in ten that can live through the next three years of contrac- 
tion involved in the^ execution of the resumption law. Look at t;he 
failures every-where. Look at the foreclosures of mortgages, the sweep- 
ing off of property at prices a half of what they were before the re- 
sumption law was passed, or before the panic, which was brought on 
by the contraction of the currency by the Republican party. ** More 
greenbacks " means simply that the business of this country shall live 
and not perish. It means that the money furnished by the General 
Government shall be just as much as the legitimate, healthy business 
of the country requires — no more, no less. It doesn't mean wild in- 
flation. But it means that as we have been doing business on 
$750,000,000 of currency, or more, for thirteen years past, we won't 
submit to a sudden and enormous contraction, and thus be forced into 
the yawning chasm of bankruptcy, which the resumption law prepares 
for us. [Applause.] 

[^Thm expired,'] 


Think it no idle compliment, when I say that the speech to which 
we have just listened, is, in its evident sincerity, one of the grandest 
utterances I ever heard. [Applause.] At last every thing is cleared 
away, and down to the naked question have we come. I am glad that 
here we stand. ' 

The question is to-day, what shall we do for the labor of the land ? 

Why is industry paralyzed ? Why are poor men vagrant on the 
road ? Why are there hungry men ? Why are there suffering chil- 
dren? Mainly because the madness of speculation, which an irredeem- 
able paper currency caused all over this land, has closed the iurnace 
and put out the forge fire and stolen the bread from the little ones. 

38 Ddxjie at ardevUk 

Why are there men hungry at Shawnee? Because speculations 
opened mines for whose products there was no use ; because men were, 
called from industries where they could earn their bread, and are now left 
stranded when the tide goes down. Out on t^e fiirms men are wanted. 
In the corn-fields men have been wanted all the summer long. Wher- 
ever there is any thing to be done for which thei^ is demand, labor is 
wanted. Let me speak plainly. We have had a paper money drunk 
and we are getting over it. [Applause.] It is hard, it is very hard. 
In God's name, do n't play with the labor of this country as you have 
played with it. 

Qen, Ewing. — I haven't played with it. 

Gov, Woodford, — I do n't mean you individually. [Laughter.] 

Gen, Ewing, — I thought you did. 

Gov, Woodford. — ^That is where the wrung conscience leaped into 
words that I did not droam of. [Laughter and applause.] 

Gen, Ewing. — When you look at me and point your finger at me, 
I suppose ydu mean me. K you were talking to the audience I sup- 
pose you would look at them. 

Gm), Woodford. — The fact is I do like you so much that I want to 
convert you. You would be worth a regiment of ordinary men, be- 
cause you are dead in earnest in the thing, and that makes your error 
so terrible. [Applause.] 

The Government started the printing presses, and made what? 
They made promises to pay, and they called them money. Promises 
to pay were easy and every body got in debt. Promises were circu- 
lating every-where. Men forgot how easy it is to get in debt, and 
how terribly hard it is to work out of it. Men went into speculation. 
They did well. They bought corn; they bought every thing, trusting 
that to-morrow would take the balloon up higher than it was to-day. 
The madness became general. We had an enormous railroad specu- 
lation all over the land. Here in Ohio, because the Boesel law was 
declared unconstitutional, you may be very grateful that you did not 
have it. Men started to build railroads from nowhere to nowhere. 
They buttressed them on faith, and they built them into the air. 
Towns bonded themselves. Counties bonded themselves. The na- 
tion was rushing into debt with railroad velocity. And so every 
body piled up debt until its volume rose nine billions high. In what 
was that debt mainly payable ? Those who lent the money required 
the pledge that it should be repaid in gold. And the bonds, the pri- 
vate bonds, the county bonds, the State bonds, the railroad bonds, 
were all made payable in gold. It was indeed the cowry shell. 

Woodford!8 Binder. 39 

Oen. Ewing. — Oh, no. 

Gov, Woodford. — I said all; let me explain this. The General, in 
his Ironton speech, says we pay $150,000,000 gold interest abroad. 
Of that interest, about $60,000,000 is on federal bonds, and the bal- 
ance of $90,000,000 is on State, municipal, and county bonds, and the 
bonds of corporations of different kinds. If the interest be at six per 
cent., $90,000,000 is the interest on $1,500,000,000. K the entire 
debt is nine billions, at least one and a half billions — a very large pro- 
portion — is payable in gold. The proportion must be greater if we 
include the debt held at home. That is what cowrv shells did. 

Let me tell you something more. If we keep on operating in 
cowry shells, what will be the result? Outside of this country you 
can't pay any debt in greenbacks. .You must sell greenbacks and buy 
gold. Every thing that you buy outside of this land you buy in gold 
and you pay for in gold. The cowry shells pass here and the gold 
goes there. Your law does not float your greenbacks outside this 
Continent. We have built a great wall of greenbacks around us, just 
as the Chinese built their wall, and we think that we can taiake a mere 
promise money. Promises are money when they are kept. Print 
your greenbacks to-day. Are they .ever to be paid ? If they are 
never to be paid, then they will be valueless. The Continental note 
is valueless because it has not been paid. Nobody expects that it 
ever will be paid. The greenback, if you never pay it, will have no 
value. If you intend to pay it, then why print more ? 

Take the gentleman's position. He says those bonds should have 
been paid in the lawful currency of the country. That would not 
have extinguished the debt. The bonded debt would have gone out 
of existence ; the non-interest-bearing debt would have been increased 
and would have remained. Some day it must be paid. Printing the 
greenback does not pay the debt. 

You print the bond. That is a note bearing interest. I give you 
another note, in place of it, that bears no interest, and you say you 
are paid. But you may want money on that note, and then if there is 
no redemption there is no payment. Some day the debt has got to be paid. 

The debt that is not paid has no value. The d^bt that has no 
value, though it may be legal tender in payment of ^ past debt, will 
buy nothing for the future. Men will hold their corn, they will hold 
their cloth, they will hold their land. You may keep your greenback, 
and they will keep their property. Inflation surely destroys purchas- 
ing power. So that at the last the man who, when you began your 
inflation, had his greenbacks in his pocket to bring home his dinner in 

4D Debate at CirdeviUe. 

his basket, will take his greenbacks in his basket that he may bring 
home his dinner in his pocket. [Laughter.] 

Admit that you have got your law and that new greenbacks are 
printed. I asked my friend what he would do with them ? I asked 
whether he would go into the market and buy up bonds at ruling 
market rates. He says, — if I crystallize his answers into two proposi- 
tions, — first, that all the bonds that are now held by the parties who 
held them before the passage of the law of 1869, he would pay in 
greenbacks ; second, that all the rest he would pay in gold. 

Now, I am not going to discuss the right or the wrong of the law. 
I want simply to tell you what the law is. The law, as it stands 
to-day, allows any man to fund any bond that he now holds into a 
five, four and a half, and four per cent, gold bond, with the word 
gold on its face — a bond declaring that principal and interest shall 
be payable in gold. Now, gentlemen, let us see how the thing stands. 
We are practical men. We are concerned with things as they are. 
Before you can get your law to allow inflation and print new green- 
backs, every present bond-holder will have turned in all the bonds 
that you think are payable in greenbacks, and will have gotten back 
bonds which under the existing law are payable, principal and in- 
terest, in gold. Therefore you can't practically pay a dollar of the 
•^ bonded debt except in gold: That is the hard alternative, as my 
friend would say, which the law, as it now stands, gives us. Then 
you can get no bond except by buying it in open market. 

Now mark the logical result. You want more greenbacks. You 
say they are good. You talk about these "bloated bond-holders.*' 
You print your new greenbacks. How do you get them into circu- 
lation ? You pay them to the " bloated bond-holders ** for their bonds, 
and the men who now have the bonds will then have every dollar 
of the new greenbacks; and what become of "the wants of trade"? 

There is no getting away from this. There it stands. You print 
the greenback. You have got to pay it out after you have printed 
it. Now, how will you get it out? If you pay it for the bond, the 
bond-holder gets it. If you stop taxing, then you run your Govern- 
ment for a year' or two without taxes, and it will be pretty hard to 
get the people to pay taxes the third year. If you never are to tax, 
but always to pay in paper, by and by you will get so much paper 
out that the paper will not be worth any thing. So that will not 
work. Then what will you do? Will you give your new greenbacks 
away in order to supply "the demands and wants of trade"? 

Woodford^B B^omder. 41 

I am a lawyer. I am so poor a one, possibly, tiiat nobody will 
hire me to try a case. What is the result? Saturday night, because 
my wife and children are not cared for, I go to the postmaster and 
say, "The wants and demands of my trade require some more green- 
backs. Won't you please give me some?" [Applause.] 

I am working at a trade. I work hard all the week and earn 
my living. My neighbor by my side is an idler. He goes on the 
street and earns nothing. When Saturday night comes, is he to go 
and say, "The wants and demands of trade require that I should 
have some greenbacks; Mr. Postmaster, give me my share?" 

Do you not see you can not give them away? That would make 
us a nation of beggars. You can not pay them out by stopping taxes, 
because your officials would be held to no accountability. The Gov- 
ernment might squander millions of dollars ; it might start the printing 
presses and pay by the issue of paper money ; and you would have a 
government so reckless that it would fall by reason of its own corrup- 
tion. So that will not work. 

How, then, are you to get these new greenbacks out ? My friend has 
been driven to a hole. To buy the bonds in the open market is the only 
resort, and so the "bloated bond-holders" get all the good, new green- 
backs. I hardly think that will work so as to help trade much. There 
is the inevitable logic of it. 

If you have no money, how are you to get it ? Printing greenbacks . 
will not put them into your pocket or into mine. Suppose they were 
all printed and all piled on this table, right under a glass, and careftdly 
guarded. There they are, radiant in their greenness and glittering in 
their gold — $1,800,000,000 of them. At once our fingers begin to 
itch, and our loving hearts incline toward those greenbacks, and you 
and I want more. 

How can we get them ? If we have any thing to sell that somebody 
else wants to buy, we can sell it and get them. There are greenbacks 
enough to do that now. If we know how to do any special kind of 
work, and any body wants that work, he hires and we labor, and so we 
earn the greenbacks and get more money. If your credit is good, you 
can borrow the greenbacks. But then you must give your private 
greenback — your note — promising to pay, and some day you will have 
to pay. Thus you get your greenbacks. Or, if sad and oppressed, you 
beg, and another with generous heart gives, then you have got more 
greenbacks. You can seU and get them ; you can work and get them ; 
you can borrow and get them ; you can beg and get them. Is there 
any other way? 

42 Debate at OirdeviUe. 

A voice. — Steal. 

Gov, Woodford. — My friend says steal theiu. [Laughter.] Now, 
he has hit the inflation platform in just two words. [Laughter and 

Gen. Eiuing. — You ^brought him along to say that. He said it at 

G(yv. Woodford. — He said it with much better effect here. When 
the menagerie travels, there is always some one to stir the animals up. 
[Applause and laughter.] 

Gen. Ewing. — I didn't know you had so many retainers. 

Gov. Woodford. — ^Now, my friends, I do n't know of any way to get 
money except to work for it, to sell for it, to borrow for it, to beg for 
it, or to steal it. There are greenbacks enough now for all these 

This is what I want to impress on your minds, and it is the bottom 
bed rock of the whole matter. The greenback is a promise to pay. 
Some day it either is to be paid or it is to be repudiated. K it is ever 
to be paid, it is more honest, it is more resolute, to set our faces, like 
the wise men, toward the star of the East, and follow until we reach 
the performance of our promise. [Cheers.] It is easier to do it to-day 
than it ever will be in the future. 

That law of 1869, which my friend, with such eloquence and sar- 
casm of phrase, has thus stigmatized, has only one fault, and that is, 
that it paid; that Is all — it paid. Some day the greenback must be 
paid, or else it has no value. The last section of that law of 1869 
declares as follows: "And the United States pledge themselves"- — 
I give the meaning, not the exact words — "that at the earliest prac- 
ticable moment they will redeem the greenbacks in gold." 

Who holds the greenbacks? You have them in your pockets. 
Whenever you work you get them. Who is to be paid the gold ? 
You who hold them. The bond sells to-day for 120 in greenbacks. 
The greenback dollar sells for eighty-five cents in gold. When the 
greenback dollar is made good^ the bond will only sell for a dollar, 
while the greenback will sell for the same dollar. 

It is not for the bond-holder, it is for the bill-holdar ; it is not for 
the money power, it is for the laboring poor, that I plead to-day. I 
speak for the laborer, for the man who toils, who has nothing but his 
work to sell. The rich man can live on the savings of the years that 
are gone. And you put this burden of inflation where? On the 
back and muscle of every man who toils. You leave the bond-holder 
with his bond payable in gold. You leave the bond -holder in his 

. Woodford's Egoitider. 43 

riches, and all the burden you cast where? ' Now I don't u$e this 
word of personal address to yourself, sir, with other than the sincerest 
respect, but the party that you represent leaves this burden where the 
false teaching of demagogues always leaves it. The party of inflation 
leaves this burden to be borne by the laboring and suffering, crushing 
labor and poor men alike, while the bond-holder gets the benefit. In 
God's name, men of Ohio, take care of the bill-holder. Make the 
bill gold, so that there shall be no margin and no difference between 
the bond on one side and the bill on the other. [Cheers.] 

My friend tells you that I taunt and sneer at the greenback. Oh, 
no. None can love it more than I. When the mad waves of rebel- 
lion swept over the land, that greenback was all that my friend paints 
it. It was the ark that bore the hope of the nation, and that saved 
us. So the olden ark saved Noah, but Noah didn't live in the ark 
forever. [Laughter and applause.] When he had a chance he got 
out on hard ground [applause and laughter] ; on solid rock ; and Mt. 
Ararat stands for honest money, specie resumption at the earliest prac- 
ticable moment. [Cheers.] 

Let us set our faces toward the payment of our debt. Let us march 
toward specie resumption. We may not get there as soon as we dream. 
But toward specie resumption, with our faces toward the sunlight, to- 
ward honesty, toward the absolute fulfillment of the nation's pledge, 
let us steadily keep our way and at last we shall get there. It may 
not be in 1879, but we will at least keep our faces toward the right. 
We shall not reach specie resumption by turning our backs on it and 
marching the other way. 

My friends, I have but three minutes before I leave you. I make 
no apology for speaking of honor and for speaking of good faith, for 
that is the bed rock of a promise. You can not give your note unless 
it is based on your good faith. ' What is credit ? You ask it at the 
store. You go there to buy goods. When the week comes round you 
have to pay or else your credit is gone. The trader here buys at New 
York. When the time comes round he must pay or his credit is gone. 
So with the Government. The bed rock of a promise is honesty. 

I hold up the greenback, the price of my country's liberty, with its 
pledge to pay one dollar. I ask that at the earliest practicable moment 
that promise shall be kept, so that the bill-holder may stand where the 
bond-holder stands. Down through all the ages from Sinai, robed 
with cloud and sceptered with lightning, are sounding the words of the 
old Hebrew law, ** Thou shalt not lie." That law is binding upon na- 
tions as it is upon men. [Cheers.] 

44 Debate at OirdemUe. 

I make no apology for talking to the men and women of Ohio and 
putting my argument on the ground of simple and absolute good faith. 
Inflation to-day inevitably means repudiation to-morrow. Bad faith 
to-day inevitably means repudiation to-morrow. ' We stand within the 
shadows of the centennial day. We are going next year to Philadel- 
phia and there, beneath old Independence Hall, where the bell rang 
out, " Liberty to all the land and to the inhabitants thereof," we 
shall gather reverently and thank the God that hath saved the nation 
and brought us to this strength. But let us deserve our prosperity, 
and then we shall have it. Let us not in the centennial time do in 
our strength what our fathers did in their infancy. Let us not inflate 
our greenback as they inflated their Continental note. Let us not be 
forced to repudiate our greenback as they repudiated their Continental 
note. Let us pay our debts, and He who gave us victory over rebel- 
lion will give the honest land prosperity in peace. [Cheers.] 

IKme ea^red.} 


• 7 

J\£oncLcLy A^ftemoort, Oct. 4=, 1875. 


Mr, Chairmxm arid FdlovHUvtizens : — 

The attempt being made by Grovernor Morton in this canvass in 
Ohio to call up the ghost of the rebellion, and the attempts of other 
Republican speakers to arouse the apprehension of the people lest their 
common school system be injured, seem to me cowardly subterfuges re- 
sorted to out of fear of an honest discussion of the question of the 
campaign — the finance question. I am happy thaLt we are to have it 
here discussed by an able gentleman who can speak for the Republican 
party; for the State Executive Committee have put him on the stand 
befote the people to do that. He is well qualified to present the Re- 
publican view of the question, and will throughout the debate, I hope 
and have no doubt, give us a candid discussion of these issues. I have 
several questions to propound to him, and I read them now in order 
that he may have full time to consider them and adjust his speech so as 
to reply at the time that will be most convenient. 

1. Is the Republican party of the United States in favor of the exe- 
cution^of the specie resumption law? 

2. Was not every vote in favor of it cast by Republicans ? 

3. Is the Republican party in favor of continuing in the national 
banks the power to issue paper currency ? 

4. Was the power of the General Government to issue legal tender 
paper money derived from the Constitution ? If not, whence was it 
derived? If it was derived from the Constitution, what provision of 
that instrument limits the exercise of the power to time of war? 


46 Debate at WUmington. 

5. If the Government had the constitutional right to issue legal 
tender paper money, when did the right begin and when did it end? 

The gentleman propounded questions to me yesterday at Circleville. 
I was happy to receive them. I answered them, I believe, fully. I 
certainly intended to, and w£is not at all disconcerted by the fact that 
they were put to me just as I took the stand. But I am perhaps a 
little more phlegmatic than the gentleman. He is of a nervous tem- 
perament, and I want to give him the questions in time for him to con- 
sider them calmly and answer them fully. I approach him with the 
questions as a skillful horseman would approach a colt with a buffalo 
robe — not jump at him with it, or shake it at him. I want to lead 
him up to them carefully and kindly, and I hope he will see that there 
is no danger to hfe party in answering with that candor which I am 
sure belongs to his character. 

I will ask your attention to-day, fellow-citizens, specially to the 
eighth and ninth resolutions of the Ohio Democratic platform : 
"That the contraction of the currency heretofore made by the Repub- 
lican party, and the further contraction proposed by it with a view to 
the forced resumption of specie payment, have already brought disas- 
ter to the business of the country and threaten it with general bank- 
ruptcy and ruin. We demand that this policy be abandoned, and that 
the volun^e of currency be made and kept equal to the wants of trade, 
leaving the restoration of legal tenders to par with gold to be brought 
about by promoting the industries of the people, not by destroying 

" 9. That the policy already initiated by the Republican party, of 
abolishing legal tenders and giving national banks the power to fur- 
nish all the currency, will increase the power of an already dangerous 
monopoly, and the enormous burdens now oppressing the people, with- 
out any compensating advantage ; and that we oppose to this policy 
the demand that all the national bank circulation be promptly and 
permanently retired, and legal tenders issued in their place." 

I read these two resolutions, not that they embody all the issues on 
the finance question, but that they either embody all or suggest all, 
involving necessarily, as they do, a consideration of the specie resump- 
tion law. 

It is denied by Republican speakers and papers that there has been 
any contraction of the currency since the war. Let us see how that 
is. When the war ended in 1865 there was $1,200,000,000 of public 
debt in the form of Treasury notes intended to circulate as money, al- 
though bearing interest. Why do I say they were intended to circu- 

Ewing's Opening Speech. 47 

late as money ? Because they were made legal tenders for their face, 
and the making of them legal tenders was for the purpose of giving 
them use as currency. They had the character also of investments, 
for they bore a moderate rate of interest, payable in currency, some 
three per cent., some four, some five, and some seven-thirty per cent, 
per annum. They were used alternately as investments and as cur- 
rency. A man who had no special use for his money immediately 
would take one of those notes, lay it by, and it would draw him a fair 
interest. If he found it necessary to pay a debt, or to use any consid- 
erable sum, he would take one of those notes, and it was always worth 
its face in greenbacks with interest to date, so that any man, in a 
blacksmith's shop or on the road, on horseback or on foot, could in a 
minute calculate what that note was worth in the money market on 
that day. These notes were used largely as currency among the peo- 
ple. They were held almost exclusively by the people. None of them 
had been sold abroad. 

During those times we decreased immensely the general public debt 
by paying off the floating debt of the United States — paid it off to the 
extent of $500,000,000 or $600,000,000 a year, without feeling the 
drain. The Republican party, determining to return to a bank cur- 
rency, decided, at the earliest possible day, to take away from the 
Government all control over the money of the people. They deter- 
mined that these interest-bearing Treasury notes, this easily borne 
debt, should be put into the form of a debt bearing a six per cent, gold 
interest, running from five to twenty years, called five-twenty bonds. 
Accordingly these notes were all taken up and funded in bonds. The 
principal of these five-twenty bonds was, by the terms of the law au- 
thorizing their issue, payable at the end of five years in greenbacks. 
The Government received greenbacks for them. They agreed to pay 
greenbacks for them at the end of five years, and in the meantime pay 
the person who furnished greenbacks for the bonds six per cent, gold 
interest. But the managers of the Republican party saw that as long 
as those five-twenty bonds were outstanding, there would be reason for 
keeping up this greenback currency. They, therefore, determined 
that they would make those bonds payable in gold, as a step toward 
wiping out the greenback currency. So they passed the Act of 
March 18, 1869, falsely called "An Act to maintain the public 
credit," by which, without any justice or equivalent, they made the 
sixteen hundred millions of five-twenty bojids, that up to that time 
were payable in greenbacks, payable only in gold. Greenbacks were 
then worth about seventy cents on the dollar in gold. That act added 

48 DAate at WUmington, 

to the public burdens about 30 per cent, of sixteen hundred million 

Did the Republicans tell you that they were going to do that? No; 
they came before the people of Ohio and told them they would never 
do it. In the campaign of 1868 their State Convention passed a res- 
olution declaring that those bonds should be paid in legal tenders. 
Here it is : " That the Eepublican party pledges itself to the faithful 
payment of the public debt. According to the laws under which the 
five-twenty bonds were issued, said bonds should be paid in the cur- 
rency of the country, which may be a legal tender, when the Govern- 
ment shall be prepared to redeem such bonds." The Indiana Eepub- 
lican Convention declared "the bonds of the United States should be 
paid in legal tender, except where, by their express terms, they pro- 
vide otherwise." John Sherman, in that year, 1868, declared "if the 
bond-holder refuses to take the same kind of money with which he 
bought the bonds, he is an extortioner and repudiator." Mr. Morton 
said practically the same thing. So did Thaddeus Stevens. And on 
these declarations in 1868 the Eepublican party went before the people 
of Ohio, Indiana, and the West, and succeeded in inducing them to 
elect General Grant President, thus solemnly pledging their faith to 
the people that that vast body of the national debt should be paid in 
the money that the people got for the bonds — in legal tenders. 

They elected Grant. A few days after he was inaugurated the 
Senate Finance Committee prepared this act to maintain the public 
credit, providing that the bonds should be paid in gold ; and in four- 
teen days after Grant took his seat he signed that bill, violating the 
contract on which the bonds were issued, and robbing the people of 
the right to pay them in the money they got for them. Why was it 
done? As another step toward the boon of specie payment, that the 
gentleman will tell you is the great thing to be longed for and sought 
for by ^he American people — in order to put the public debt in such 
form that it could not be paid in legal tenders, and obviate the neces- 
sity for continuing the legal tender money in existence; — for the same 
object that induced them to wipe out the $1,200,000,000 of interest 
bearing Treasury notes that were payable in legal tenders. 

Those were two steps toward specie payment. The third was a 
large contraction of the non-interest-bearing currency, composed of 
greenbacks and national bank notes — amounting to $910,000,000 in 
1865, when the war ended. By 1873 they amounted to but $742,000,- 
000— a reduction of $168,000,000. Now there are $741,000,000— a 
reduction of $169,000,000. That reduction was on the express decla- 

Ewing^B Opening Speech. 49 

rations of Mr. McCulloch and John Sherman, the finance leaders of 
the Republican party, that there was only one road to specie pajment, 
and that was the road of contraction. 

Now, when you compare the currency of 1865 — ^the greenback and 
national bank currency of $910,000,000 — with the greenback and 
national bank currency of to-day, $741,000,000, you find a reduction 
of about eighteen per cent.; and when you compare the population of 
the country in 1865, which was about 35,000,000, with the population 
of to-day, which is about 43,000,000, you find an increase of popula- 
tion of about twenty-two per cent. Assuming that the population 
represents ratably the proper volume of currency, we have to-day prac- 
tically a reduction of the currency of forty per cent, since 1865, not 
counting in at' all the $1,200,000,000 of interest-bearing legal tender 
notes, counting only the greenbacks that bore no interest and the na- 
tional bank notes — a contraction of forty per cent. That is the con-* 
traction that the Pemocratic platform speaks of. 

We say it brought disaster to the business of the country. Let me 
show you that it did. Here is a table of mercantile failures in the 
United States, taken from Hunt's Merchants' Magazine and Year 
Book for the years up to 1870, and from R. G. Dun & Co.'s tables for 
the years* following. See how, during the period of a full currency, 
business is shown by these tables to have been prosperous, and how 
with each year of contraction — contraction by reduction of the cur- 
rency and growth of business, both going on at the same time — the 
failures multiplied. 





• 405 

$ 8,000,000 































Showing that in 1873, when we had the least currency in propor- 
tion to the population, the failures were seven times as large as they 
had been in 1865 and 1866, when we had the largest amount of cur- 

50 Debate at Wilmington. 

Now, fellow-citizens, that strongly indicates the effect of contraction 
on the business of the country, and it is in accordance with reason. 
We all know perfectly well that business having adjusted itself to a 
given amount of currency in 1865-66, as the currency, was reduced in 
amount the eifect was to reduce all values of all property and labor ; 
to compel people who were doing business to do it upon a falling mar- 
ket ; to do it while the stocks they w^ere working or holding in hand 
were depreciating in value. As this contraction went on, the pressure 
became more and more severe and the squeeze tighter, till, in 1873, 
the industries of the country broke down, the great Jay Cooke failure 
being the first. 

The gentleman tells us that these failures are the result of what he 
elegantly terms a "national drunk." They are no such thing. I 
challenge any body to contradict the statement that not only were the 
industries of the people of Ohio more generally prosperous for ten years 
preceding the panic, taking that decade as a whole, than they had 
been during any other ten years of our history; but, also, I assert 
that for the five years before the panic, from 1868 to '1873, as the 
contraction was kept up, business men became more and more cautious. 
There was less of venture each year as we approached the panic. 
There was less of wild speculation each year. There was more of 
economy practiced each year, for people, during several years before 
the panic, felt severely the pressure of the hard times. 

A national drunk ! Was the Jay Cooke failure due to the expan- 
sion of the currency? No, gentlemen, it was due to the giving to 
Mr. Cooke of an area of the people's land as great as Ohio, Indiana, 
and Illinois combined. It was the result of giving to Fremont's road 
another area as big as two or three States. It was the result of the 
wanton policy "of the Republican party in giving large bonuses of pub- 
lic lands to numerous railroads scattered over the uninhabited regions 
of the West, and, through those grants stimulating inordinately invest- 
ments in Western railroads beyond the hmits where the population 
and business would justify their construction. That was the trouble. 
It was not the currency at all. It was these land grants in large part, 
and in further large part the fact that the people, when the war ended, 
supposed the Southern States were going to be allowed to rise on their 
feet and prosper; and, therefore, they made investments in Southern 
railroads and plantations. They did not calculate on the fact that the 
Republican Administration intended to let loose a flight of vultures on 
the South to eat out its substance and bring the States to bankruptcy. 

Eming's Opening Speedi, 51 

Those are the two causes that made all of the drunkenness there was 
that disturbed the business of the country in 1873. 

My friend talks about the construction of railroads in the East. He 
alludes to one road, the^ Midland road in New York, constructed by 
county aid ; but let him point to the road in Ohio constructed in all 
that time that was not needed. There was not one. You may take 
Ohio from the lake to the river, and from Pennsylvania to Indiana, go 
from county to county, and you can not point out any evidence of a 
drunk in the industries of the country during this time. The decade 
from 1863 to 1873 was, as a whole, a season of prosperity, when all 
industries flourished, when all labor was fully employed ; a season of 
thrift, when men made homes and bettered their condition; when la- 
borers secured provision for their families and a little competence 
against the day when they could not labor. Aside from the griefs and 
losses of the war, it was a blessed epoch, and one that I am sure every 
considerate man must long to see return. 

It was contraction of the currency chiefly that brought disaster to 
the business of the country. The Democratic party say that it was, 
and they further say that the Republican party propose an additional 
contraction by their resumption law. I will ask you to consider the 
law, and see if what I say be not true. Here it is. The gentleman 
says it is not an issue in this canvass. Here it is — a law for the re- 
sumption of specie payment by the people of the United States, by 
a people owing eight thousand million dollars of currency debt ; a 
law which will add to that currency debt seventeen per cent, in three 
years, which will pile on the shoulders of the towns, cities, townships, 
counties. States, railroads and private individuals all over the country 
who owe that vast volume of debt— seventeen per cent, more in order 
to make it equal to gold by 1 879. It proposes to lay on the shoul- 
ders of the people $1,360,000,000 additional debt. It proposes to add 
to the interest-bearing debt of the General Government $375,000,000 
of new five per cent, gold bonds in order to buy the gold to redeem 
and destroy the free money the people now have. It proposes to 
add $44,000,000 to the bonded debt to buy silver with which to take 
from your pockets the fractional currency. And yet the gentleman 
says it is not an issue in this canvass: it is too small a matter. I 
suppose the Geghan law is a much bigger affair. [A laugh.] Why, 
he is the first man who has come upon the stump in Ohio belonging 
to the Republican party, to my knowledge, who has mentioned the 
words " Resumption Law," and he didn't mention it until I com- 
menced putting questions about it, and he will talk very little about 


52 Ddxjie at WUminglon, 

it now. He will have a large amount to say about Continental 
money, and Confederate scrip, and French assignaia, and the coin of 
the Dutch Republic and the Fiji Islands [laughter] — every thing that 
is just as far as possible away from the issue of the campaign — the 
question whether the people of this country are going to add thus 
enormously to their present burdens or not. 

This * resumption law compels the Secretary of the Treasury to get 
forty-four million dollars of silver coin, and take up and destroy all 
the fractional currency. What for ? Oh, they say, it will give the 
people a money that chinks, and it will be so far toward specie pay- 
ments. They started toward specie payments a year ago, and pro- 
posed to redeem all the currency under five dollars. They kept it 
up — well, I forget whether it was from nine to twelve o'clock on 
the day they started, or from nine to eleven [laughter] — but they 
ran out in the first three hours, giving them the largest time. 

Silver has never been less than five per cent, premium since that 
law was passed. It is now eight per cent, premium. The Secretary 
of the Treasury has already run out 62,600,000 of new silver money 
to take up the fractional currency with. He has bought $12,000,- 
000 of silver, and he has issued and sold near $12,000,000 of new 
five per cent, gold bonds to get the silver with, and has so far, by 
pushing the mints night and day, got out $2,600,000 of this silver. 
Where is it ? Can't one of you hand up a piece ? There is some 
of it belongs to this county if it is distributed evenly. I have never 
yet found the man who has seen a coin of it except one gentleman 
who saw one at the seat of Government, and he got it at the Treas- 
ury Department as a curiosity, intending to frame it. [Laughter.] 
No ; of that $2,600,000 that have been issued by the Secretary of 
the Treasury, not a dollar ever came into the Mississippi Valley; not 
a dollar ever went into circulation even in New York City or in 
Brooklyn. It was bagged by four or five pet brokers in Wall Street, 
who pocketed the ^\e to eight per cent, premium and sent the sil- 
ver off to California, or Oregon, or Nevada, or China, or Japan. 
That is what became of it, and that is what will become of every 
dollar of the forty-four millions. 

We are to add $44,000,000 to our bonded debt for the sake of 
putting probably $2,000,000 or $3,000,000 in the hands of some pet 
brokers, to be selected by the Secretary of the Treasury. Thus, we 
will lose our fractional currency, and the only consolation we receive 
is the suggestion that the merchants will print fractional money and 
circulate it, and that will answer the purposes of a fractional cur- 

JEtuing's Opening Speech. 53 

rency. We are to lose our fractional currency and to get along with 
grocery men's shinplasters. 

The greenback currency is to be allowed to live until the first of 
January, 1879, but on and after that date it is to be paid in gold. 
Where is the gold to come from? From Europe. How? By a sale 
of five per cent, bonds. There is no other way to get it. The ex- 
penses of the Government last year overran the receipts, and Con- 
gress added $35,000,000 more of taxes, and now the expenses are 
just a little short of the receipts. But there is no margin there with 
which to provide $375,000,000 of gold, nor the tenth of it, by the 
first of January, 1879. It must be provided in the w^ay authorized 
by this law, by the sale of five per cent, gold bonds in Europe, add- 
ing to the servitude we are already under to Europe, adding to the 
drain of gold from our country every year, in order to have $375,- 
000,000 of gold on that day, so that the Secretary of the Treasury 
may take up and destroy the only money you now have that costs 
you nothing. That is, we increase our national interest-bearing debt 
about one -fourth in this attempt to get back to specie payments. 
We destroy our greenback currency ; we destroy our fractional cur- 
rency; in other words, we destroy $419,000,000 out of the $750,000,- 
000 of currency. 

Who is there among the business men in this country now that can 
stand it ? — a contraction of sixty per cent, in three years put on the ' 
contraction that we have already had ? Values have fallen low enough, 
and property and products of labor, God knows. But we must be 
prejiared for a contraction of one-half more. Who can stand it? 
What merchant can continue his business in the next three years un- 
less he has a large accumulation of wealth already, and see his goods 
shrinking in value while in his store, to* an extent larger than any 
ordinarily anticipated profit? What manufacturer can manufacture 
under such circumstances? What man will borrow money to carry 
on business when he knows that, in addition to the interest he pays, 
seventeen per cent, has to be added for the difference between green- 
backs now and gold on the first of January, 1879? Who will bor- 
row money to go into business with ? — and business can not be C(m- 
ducted without borrowing. The business of the country generally, 
and especially the business of the West, is carried on, to a large ex- 
tent, by borrowed capital. The men who have accumulated wealth 
are generally the elderly men, the men who, to a large extent, are 
done with the active business of life. It is the young, energetic men 
of the community, who combine their energies and their talent with 

54 Debate at WUnwigton. 

the money of non-producers to carry on the works of production and 
exchange— they are the men that do the business of the country in 
the main ; and how can men go into business using borrowed capital 
when, in addition to the interest they pay, they must look at the 
f ict that they pay seventeen per cent, additional for this money as 
it rises up to par with gold, pay it, too, in products constantly de- 
preciating, depreciating far more, my fellow-citizens, than merely sev- 
enteen per cent.? That will not mark the measure of depreciation at all. 

England attempted resumption in 1819, after her wars with Napo- 
leon, when the difference between bank paper and gold was only three 
per cent. She fixed a day of resumption four years in advance ; but 
in order to prepare for payment in gold, the banks had to reduce 
their currency forty-five per cent., and every thing in the island, 
whether land or labor or product, shrank to the full extent of the 
bank circulation. The result was that almost every man who was 
in debt was bankrupted — and almost every man who is in business 
is in debt. I mean that every man who is doing business borrows 
money, or buys on credit and sells on credit. He stands between 
his debtors on one side and his creditors on the other, and the fall 
of one knocks down another. Consequently it is that no considerable 
proportion of business men of any community can fail without in- 
volving the whole business of that community in ruin. And that is 
what we are approaching — approaching by reason of this immense 
contraction of the currency. The effect of this law is being already 
anticipated by the large holders of money securities and of money. 
They know perfectly well the effect of a reduction of the currency 
sixty per cent, in the next three years. 

Tbe gentleman talks about free banking under this law, and an 
increase of currency by means of it. It is a cheat and fraud. It 
was put there for the purpose of catching Morton and Logan and 
Ferry, and giving them a 'chance to go before their Republican con- 
stituents in the West, telling them that they were to have more bank 
money. Have they had it ? So far from it, the bank currency has 
been reduced twenty-five million dollars under the operation of that 
law inside of eight months. It is true the law makes banking 
free, but it makes it free under such conditions that no new banks 
will be established. It makes it free under the condition that every 
bank must be prepared to pay gold for its notes, or legal tender, 
which is the same as gold, on the 1st of January, 1879 ; and if the 
new bank fails to pay, or any of the old banks fail to pay gold or 
legal tender (which, after the 1st of January, 1879, will be a mere 

Eidn^s Opening Speech, 55 

check on the Secretary of the Treasury for gold), under the banking 
laws, their bonds are to be confiscated with all the premium. The 
consequence is that old banks, under the operation of that law, seeing 
how unsafe business will be, how unsafe all loans, seeing the high 
price of bonds, have preferred to sell their bonds for a premium, and 
withdraw their circulation, rather than increase their circulation, al- 
though they are permitted to do it to any extept. And the result 
is that about twenty-five million dollars of old bank circulation has 
been withdrawn, and only about four or five million dollars of new 
bank currency issued ; and for every dollar of the new bank currency 
Issued, eighty cents of greenbacks are destroyed. 

He says this law is a measure of inflation, because when a new 
bank is created and given new circulation, the Secretary only with- 
draws eighty per cent, of greenbacks ; but the reason is that the new 
bank is pledged to keep twenty per cent, of reserve, and the eflTect 
of it is simply to make the volume of the currency the same after 
the increase of new bank currency. So it is not a law of inflation 
in that respect at all ; and under the law, as I said before, there has 
been a contraction of greenbacks and of national bank notes amount- 
ing to twenty-nine million dollars up to the first day of this month, as 
appears by the Treasury statement. That is the contraction still going 
on referred to in the Democratic platform. 

Gentlemen say money is plenty. Oh, yes, money is plenty. There 
is plenty in the hands of men who hold from a hundred thousand to. a 
million dollars of it. There are $150,000,000 of money piled up now 
in Wall Street, in sight of the residence of the gentleman who will follow 
me— $150,000,000 that is not being used. Why is it not used ? What 
is that money for? That money is for the business of the country. 
Money is the handmaid of business. Its place is out in business ; and 
in ordinarily prosperous times, when men can have an assurance that 
business will be fairly prosperous, money is loaned out by the holders 
to business men. But this resumption law in eflTect says to all the 
holders of money, " Do n't you lend a dollar. You lend money to 
this man who is manufacturing, and you will lose it." Why? Be- 
cause all his goods ^vill be falling while he is manufacturing them; 
because when he goes out into the market he will find nobody who 
has any money to buy with. He will find that he can not sell ex- 
cept on long credit; and when he sells on credit, he can not collect. 

That is what gentlemen call " over production." Thej mean by 
it that state of affairs when almost every body is out of every thing 
they want, and have not money to buy any thing. That is the sort 

56 Debate at Wilmington, 

of over-production this law has made, and it is the sort that it in- 
evitably must keep on making. The law says to every man who has 
money: "Gold is seventeen percent, premium now. Just lay«your 
money away in your safe and you will make seventeen per cent, by 
turning the key and putting it in your pocket." They go out and 
say, " Would you like money at two per cent, on United States 
bonds ? " and any body that has something better than money to de- 
posit can get tlie money at two per cent. Then gentlemen who come 
out to address you say, " See how cheap money is. It is only two 
per cent. It is not out because it is not needed. If it were needed 
people would put up satisfactory security and get it at two per cent." 
But the difficulty is that men who are in business generally can not 
put up United States bonds. They can only offer their business. 
They say : " I am doing a business of $100,000 a year. Lend me 
$20,000 to carry it on." But that security does n't go down any more, 
because the money holders see that under this contraction of the cur- 
rency there will be a general massacre of business in the next three 
years, and they will not trust the money out in business. That is 
the whole of it. 

Now, our Democratic platform says that this contraction of the cur- 
rency under that law, with a view to the forced resumption of specie 
payment, shall stop, and that the bu^ness of the country shall have 
just so much money as it needs — no more, and no less. Gentlemen 
cry out, "That is unlimited inflation; that means a flood of money 
beyond all the wants of business." Well, the platform of the De- 
mocracy of Ohio was framed by pretty intelligent men, and adopted 
by an intelligent convention. It means just what it says. It means 
that the legitimate business of this country shall not suffer because 
of a too small volume of money. It does n't say that the greenback 
shall be increased or diminished arbitrarily. On the contrary, it says 
it shall not be. It in eff*ect says, in respect to the volume of 'the 
currency : "Look at the business of the country. See what it needs. 
Don't' fix your eye on specie payment, and say : * We will resume 
in 1879, and let the business of this country go to the devil,' but 
look at the business of the country; give it all the currency it needs 
for healthy growth ; let the industries rise to their feet again, aiul 
trust the restoration of specie payment to that time when, by tlie gen- 
eral growth of business, increase of wealth, payment of the national 
debt, ending of our servitude as borrowers to European money-lend- 
ers, it will become practicable, without great public injury, to re- 
sume specie payment." It is a sensible proposition, and it seems to 

Ewing^s Opening Speech, 57 

me that, fairly considered, it ought to commend itself to the good 
opinion of the people. 

Qur platform goes one step further on this money question. Here 
are a little over two thousand private corporations who have been 
allowed to usurp the sovereign power of furnishing the money of the 
people to the extent of $350,000,000, and they are being paid five per 
cent, per annum for the usurpation. It would be an outrage to put 
into the hands of private corporations the right to furnish money at all. 
The tendency is dangerous. But it is still worse to lay on the shoul-, 
ders of the burdened industries of this country an additional tax of 
five per cent, as a bounty to these parasites, and that is what the Re- 
publican party does. The national banks pay a tax of one per cent, 
on circulation, and taking out that tax from the currency value of the 
interest on the bonds which that amount of greenbacks would buy, the 
saving to the people would be about $18,000,000 of currency each year 
by the mere issuing of legal tenders to the amount of $350,000,000 in 
place of that many national bank notes. Going into the market and 
buying that amount of bonds and stopping the interest, the people of 
this country would save $18,000,000. The national banks would pay 
the same tax that they now pay. State, county, city and national, ex- 
cept the single tax on circulation, and I defy anybody to show to the 

That eighteen million dollars of saving, if applied now to the pay- 
ment of the principal of the public debt, would extinguish every dol- 
lar of it within the next twenty- five years — not principal and interest, 
but principal alone. Every dollar would be paid ofi* by that one sin- 
gle act of costless justice to the people, and the majority of the men 
who now hear me woilld live to see this vast burden rolled from the 


shoulders of the industries of the land. Why was it not done in 
1865 ? If it had been done we would have saved up to this time ber 
tween two and three hundred million dollars. Why was it not done ? 
Because, with few exceptions, these banks w^ere pillars and supports 
of the Republican party, and it therefore, in effect, robbed the Amer- 
ican people of eighteen million dollars a year to distribute among 
party retainers and supporters. That is the effect of it. 

Now the Democratic party say : " Stop that ! Issue greenbacks in 
the place of those bank-notes, and put an end to that big drain at 
least." Between the policy of the Democratic party on the one hand 
of substituting greenbacks for national bank notes, and of the Repub- 
lican party on the other of buying up and destroying the greenbacks 
and fractional currency, is a difference to the American people of be- 



58 Debate at Wilmington. 

tween three and four hundred million dollars of debt reduced, and 
four hundred and nineteen million dollars of interest-bearing debt 
added — a difference of over $700,000,000. If you prefer to have over 
$400,000,000 added to the public debt, adopt the Republican policy 
and vote for their platform. If you want over $300,000,000 taken off, 
vote the Democratic ticket. 


Messrs, Chavrmen and Ladies and GenUenien : — 

You look like earnest, practical men. Such a man am I ; and so, 
without one word of introduction, let us to work. 

The issue is in the eighth section of the Democratic platform: 
" That the contraction of the currency hitherto made by the Republi- 
can party " — that is statement number one. 

The Republican party has made no contraction of the currency 
which is legal tender. Such contraction as has taken place in the 
notes that were circulated and used as money was the joint and equal 
work of both political parties. It took place between 1865 and the 
4th of March, 1869. During that period the late Andrew Johnson, 
of Tennessee, was President of the United States. Hugh McCuUoch 
was Secretary of the Treasury. The notes withdrawn, and whose 
withdrawal my friend calls contraction, were mostly of two kinds. 
You remember the old compound interest notes. When any body 
holding one of those notes found that it had so much interest added to 
it that it was worth more to keep it than to pay it out, he put it into 
his pocket, and himself contracted the currency ; or when he had a 
seven-thirty note, whose interest had grown to the extent that it was 
to his advantage to keep the note rather than to pay it out, he put it 
into his pocket, and so contracted the currency. You sinful men 
yourselves contracted the currency. Those were debts, and Mr. 
McCulloch proposed to fund them, and he sent a recommendation to 
Congress to that effect in December, 1865, and then the following res- 
olution was adopted : 

^^ Resolved, That this House cordially concurs with the views of the 
Secretary of the Treasury in relation to the necessity of a contraction of 
the currency, with a view to as early a resumption of specie payments 
as the business interests of the country will permit, and we hereby 
pledge co-operative action to this end as speedily as practicable." 

WoodfortHs Rcphj. 59 

This resolution was adopted without even a reference to a com- 
mittee, by a v(»te of 144 in the affirmative to 6 in the negative. 
There were 32 Democrats present in the House that afternoon, and 31 
of those Democrats voted for the resolution, and only one against it. 

This resolution was followed by the passage of a law on the 12th of 
xlpril, 1866, and on the passage of that bill, of all the Democrats in 
the House of Kepresentatives, only one voted against the bill. An- 
drew Johnson had by that time become a pretty good Democrat, and 
contraction was a Democratic measure. In the Senate the negative 
vote, the vote against the bill, was cast entirely by Republicans. So 
the contraction of the currency, so far as it occurred, my brother [to 
Mr. Ewing], we shall have painfully to share between us. [Applause 
and laughter.] 

Allow me again to read from the record : " That the contraction of 
the currency hitherto made by the Republican party, and the further 
contraction by it, with a view to the forced resumption of specie pay- 

Now let us see what contraction we Republicans have proposed. 
Perhaps it will be as well to read this Resumption ^^aw. Then we 
will understand its meaning better than by citing it from hearsay. 

" An Act to provide for the resumption of specie payments. Be it 
etiaded, etc.. That the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized 
and required, as rapidly as practicable, to have coined at the mints of 
the United States, silver coins of the denominations of ten, twenty-five, 
and fifty cents of standard value, and to use them in redemption of an 
equal number and amount of fi*actional currency of similar denomina- 
tions; or, at his discretion" — you are not to have any of them in the 
West ; they are all to be given to us in the East, my friend thinks ; 
but allow me to read the law — " or, at his discretion, he may issue such 
silver coins through the mints" — there are mints elsewhere than in 
New York — '* the sub-treasuries " — there are sub-treasuries elsew^here 
than in New York — "the public depositories" — there are public de- 
positories elsewhere than in New York — "the post-offices of the 
United States" — is there not one in every village in Ohio? — "and 
upon such issue he is hereby authorized and required to redeem an 
equal amount of such fractional currency, until the whole amount of 
such fractional currency outstanding shall be redeemed." 

Then if you want silver for the fractional currency in your pockets, 
whenever the Secretary has gotten enough to begin resumption, you 

60 Debate at WUmingUm, 

can get it from your postmaster. If you waste it after you have got- 
ten it, it will not be the fault of this wicked law. 

Then the next clause is **that so much of Section 3524 of the Re- 
vised Statutes of the United States as provides for a charge of one- 
fifth of one per cent, for converting standard gold bullion into coin is 
hereby repealed, and hereafter no charge shall be made for such serv- 
ice." Heretofore the Government has always been in the habit of 
coining bullion into money whenever any body presented it, and 
charging one-fifth of one per cent, to cover the expense. Hereafter 
they will coin bullion into money whenever it is presented, and make 
no charge, thus taking away a very slight hinderance against the specie 
resumption. It of course is a very slight one. 

My friend says that we have already bought eleven millions of sil- 
ver, and have sent the bonds abroad to get the silver. My friend is 
mistaken. The great amounts of silver that are now being mined are 
from the hills of Nevada, and I think it is only to-day the telegraph 
brings the report that the Superintendent of the Mint finds the pro- 
duction of silver is so rapidly increasing that the Comstock lode alone 
is expected to supply about four millions of silver per month. The 
production of gold and silver in the mines of the Westy now that gold 
and silver look like being of some use for purposes of money in this 
country, the Superintendent of the Mint says will increase between 
twenty and thirty million dollars this coming year. So that the sup- 
ply naturally follows the demand. 

My friend asks where the two millions of fractional currency have 
gone that he claims have been retired? Where does corn go when 
it is used ? [Laughter.] Where does cloth go when it gets worn ? 
AVhere are sheep raised? Where wool can be sold. Where does sil- 
ver go ? Where silver is used. Where did the two millions of silver 
go? It went to that part of the country where, to-day, they do not 
use the fractional currency, but only use dimes, quarters, half-dollars, 
and dollars of silver. 

My friend says that silver will not float. I suppose every one of 
you knows that a silver dollar does not contain a dollar's worth of 
silver. The silver coin of our land is a debased silver. A silver dol- 
lar is worth to-day about a dollar and eight cents in greenbacks. A 
gold dollar is worth a dollar and seventeen cents in greenbacks. ^With 
gold at 108 the greenback is just as good as the silver dollar; and 
whenever gold falls to 108 — and we have had it down to 110 once within 
the past twelve months — whenever gold falls to 108, nobody will care 
to hoard the silver, for he could get no more for the silver than he could 

Woodford^s Reply. 61 

get. for the greenback itself. The greenback and the silver are of equal 
value with gold at 108, so that whenever the gold falls to 108, silver 
will float of itself, because the silver dollar is to-day worth only 108 in 
greenbacks. The silver coin is depreciated, and for thiat reason it is 
only a legal tender to the amount of five dollars. You can't make a 
map take more than five dollars in silver in payment of a debt. You 
can make him take but twenty-five cents worth of nickels. Any 
debt beyond that must be paid either in gold or the greenback, and as 
the greenback is not worth as much^as the gold, and the greenback is 
a legal tender, of course we use the greenback. 

Let us go on. Section 3 repeals all restriction on the banking law, 
so that banking is to-day as free as the business of keeping a hotel, or 
the business of running a grocery store. But my friend says, No, it 
is not quite : you have got to put up security. Well, you can't suc- 
cessfully go into the hotel business unless you have got capital enough 
to run it. A man can't open a grocery store without capital enough 
to run it. You can't start any business without capital enough to run 
it, unless you work for somebody else, and are being hired. 'If you 
propose at any time to work for yourself in business, on your own ac- 
count, you have got to have some capital on which to do the business. 

Why is this banking capital required? You men in Ohio, look back 
but a very few years, and you recall the time when if your neighbor 
paid you in an Indiana State bank bill, you had to sell it at a discount 
of five cents on the dollar. If he paid you in a West Pennsylvania 
bank bill, you had to sell it at a discount of seven cents on the dollar. 
Paper money was always at a discount when far away from the bank 
that issued it. How is it to-day ? Did you ever stop when any body 
paid you a national bank bill, to ask where the bill was issued ? Is 
not a bill from a bank in Oregon, a bill from a bank in Texas, a bill 
from a bank in Maine, just as good as a bill from a bank in Wilming- 
ton ? Is not the bank in Wilmington compelled to take, in payment 
of any debt that you owe it, the notes of every national bank all over 
the United States ? Have not you got a bank currency to-day that is 
absolutely good ? Did you ever hear of a man losing a dollar because 
he had the bill of a national bank when that bank broke ? Never. 
Behind every dollar of bank money that you hold, there is lodged at 
Washington for every ninety cents of the bank money a gold dollar 
bond of the United States that is worth a dollar and twenty cents in 
national bank currency, if it were sold. So that there is that which 
will sell for one dollar and thirty cents in national bank currency as ab- 
solute security for every dollar of national bank bills. That gives you 

62 Debate at Wilmington, 

an absolutely safe currency. The capital is required to be put up, 
simply that there may be an absolute security for the bill-holder. 

Now, of all those banks — and it is always safer to test . things 
by experience, rather than by prejudice, or possibly by passion — of all 
the national banks, take them all together, and the losses suffered by 
their depositors will not form the one. hundred and eighty-sixth part of 
one per cent, of the amounts owing by the banks. Was ever such a 
banking system known in the world? But my friend says he proposes 
to tear it down, so as to get the free money of the people. Let us see 
what that would do. 

Not a Uaited States bond to-day is taxed, except the bonds held .by 
the national banks. Remember that. Not a United States bond to-day, 
under the law, can be taxed, except the bonds held by the United 
States banks. Why is that? Chief Justice Marshall, of the Supreme 
Court, decided that no Government had a right to tax its interest- 
bearing debt. Why? Because it could thereby repudiate its interest. 
Don't you see? You lend the Government a thousand dollars oh 
condition that the Government shall pay you six per cent, interest. 
If the Government can tax you one per cent., then it will pay you 
but five. If it can tax one, it can tax two, and then it will pay you 
but four. If it can tax two, it can tax three, and then it will pay 
you but three. If it can tax three, it may tax five, and then it will 
pay you but one ; and if it can tax five, it may tax six, and then it 
will not pay you any thing. And that was the logic by which the 
Chief Justice of the United States demonstrated that United States 
bonds could not be taxed. 

But my friend, and all my Democratic friends say States and coun- 
ties should be allowed to tax them. Stop one moment. When the 
Rebellion broke out, the States of Kentucky, and Maryland, and Dela- 
ware remained in the Union, but had decided leanings at least toward 
the other side — suppose that men with large capital had been living in 
those States, and suppose they had been disposed to lend money to the 
Government, if one of those States could have taxed United States 
bonds, she could have prevented any citizen of hers from lending a 
dollar to the Government, by simply putting such a tax on United 
States bonds that the man who had the money could not lend it, for 
he would lose all his income. And so Chief Justice Marshall decided 
that neither State nor county could tax the United States bonds. 

But the United States bonds of the national banks are taxed, and 
why? Because the Government says: **If you want to go into the 
banking business you must put up such security that every bill-holder 

Woodford^s Reply. 6 


will be protected, so that the cashier and president can not steal every 
thing there is in the^bank, and run off and leave the poor laborers to 
whistle for the money on their bills. You must put up security. 
You must put up such security that if you do n't pay the bill-holder 
we can, and protect ourselves. Therefore, you must buy our bonds, 
and lodge them with us, so that if you break and steal the money of 
the bank, and do n't pay the bill-holder, we can pay the bill-holder, 
and protect him without loss to ourselves, because we have got in 
our hands as security the debt that we owe you." And so the Gov- 
ernment was absolutely protected. 

And there was another reason. Our friends say these bonds are 
all held abroad. It is quite a staple argument among our Democratic 
friends that these United States bonds are hd:d abroad, and that the 
gold interest goes there. Then here was a chance to have a certain 
amount of bonds held at home, so that we could keep the interest 

But my friend says we are paying interest to the banks on the se- 
curity for their bills. Suppose the banks did not hold those bonds, 
would not we have to pay interest to somebody ? Until the bond is 
paid have not we got to pay interest to somebody ? What difference is 
it whether we pay it to a bank or to somebody else ? Is it not better 
to pay the interest where ^he bond will absolutely protect the bill, and 
where the bond will be held in this country, and is it not better to offer 
an inducement to bring our bonds, as far as possible, from abroad, so 
that when the Government comes to pay gold, the gold on the bond 
may stay here, and not be carried away across the ocean ? 

But my friend says right here — and pardon this digression from the 
direct run of my argument — "You are paying double interest. You 
pay interest to the bank on the bond." Certainly we pay interest to 
whoever holds the bond, whether bank or citizen, untU the principal 
of the bond is paid. I give you my note. You pass it to your neigh- 
bor. That note bears interest. Until I pay that note I have got to 
pay the interest on the note, I do n't care who holds it. It is payment 
of principal that stops interest, and nothing else. 

Then, to go back, my Democratic friends suggest that you are pay- 
ing a double yiterest. You pay on the bond. Yes, we pay on the 
bond to whoever holds it. We get in return the privilege of taxing 
United States bonds that could not be taxed in any other way, and the 
State of Ohio collects to-day in money, legal tender money, nearly one 
million dollars of taxes out of these national banks that it could not 
get in any other way, because if the bank invested that money simply 

64 Debate at Wilmington, 

in United States bonds and put those bonds in its vault, the Govern- 
ment could not compel the taxation of them. 

But my friend says the banks make interest bojh ways. Let us see. 
You go to a bank to get your note discounted. Suppose that there 
was not a national bank in existence, and all the money that the bank 
had was legal tenders, do you think that they would lend you those 
legal tenders, and not charge you interest? [Laughter.] Suppose 
there was not a national bank in existence, and you w^anted to borrow 
money, will the man that owns that money lend it to you without 
charging interest? Why, you know he will not. When you borrow 
money you have got to pay interest. Did you ever borrow any money, 
except from a dear friend, who lent it as an accommodation? Did 
you ever borrow any money that you did n't have to pay interest qn ? 
Do you expect that if we had Democratic State banks of deposit and 
discount, they would lend greenbacks over their counters to every body 
who wanted them, according to the demands of trade, and charge no 
interest? [Laughter.] Then I apprehend, my friends, when you 
borrow money, you have got to pay interest, and you have got to pay 
just as much whether you borrow the greenback or whether you borrow 
the national currency. 

The present law will give you the greenbacks if you prefer them. 
For example, you give your note at thirty days to the bank, due in 
thirty days. The bank discounts it, and gives you national bank notes. 
You walk out of the bank and hand those bills to your neighbor, and 
say, "Won't you please go int9 the bank and get me greenbacks on 
these notes?" Your neighbor can take the notes, and go into the bank 
and ask for greenbacks, and if the bank don't give him greenbacks, 
it is wound up and put into bankruptcy. The bank is compelled to 
redeem every note of its own with greenbacks, whenever any such note 
is presented. 

Now, more than that, suppose you have a thousand dollars in na- 
tional bank notes, and they are on a thousand different banks; sup- 
pose you had Democratic State banks, you would have to send yoiu* 
notes a thousand different Ways, and, if you sent them by mail, that 
would cost three cents postage on each bill to get them redeemed. K 
yOu have a thousand national bank notes for one dollar each, and each 
on a different bank, you can send them by express to the redemption 
agent at Washington, and the Government sends you back greenbacks 
for every one of them ; so that your bank bills are, practically, re- 
deemable in greenbacks whenever you want them redeemed. 

Now, the idea that because the money is printed by the Govern- 

WoodfoT'dHs Eeply. 65 

ment, you and I are^ going to borrow it without paying interest, is, if 
my learned friend will excuse the expression, almost too absurd to be 
worthy of further discussion. 

Gen. Eiving, — Who suggested it, allow me to inquire? You are 
fighting the air. 

Gov. Woodford. — My friend says that I am fighting the air. I am. 
I am fighting inflation. [Applause and laughter.] 

Now, as these additional bank notes are issued, here comes in the pro- 
cess of contraction. Eighty dollars in greenbacks may be retired for 
every $100 in bank notes that are issued, and the contraction puts out 
$20 more of paper money than was out before. You destroy $80 of 
greenbacks for every $100 of bank notes that are issued. Eighty dol- 
lars from $100 leaves $20 more- in circulation. It is hardly necessary 
to discuss that any further. 

But my friend either did argue or logically suggest that the effect 
of this bill has been to contract the currency since the 1st of January, 
1875. So it has, and in this way. Banking is free. Now, if a man 
has a right to go into the grocery business, has he not got a right to 
go out of it? If he has got a right to go into the banking business, 
has he not got a right to go out of it? You all have heard of the 
great profits of the national banks. You are led to suppose that they 
are accumulating wealth so rapidly that their fortunes rise like Alad- 
din's palace in mid-air. Well, if they are making so much money how 
is it that they are going out of the business? [Laughter and applause.] 
Under the operation of thi^ law it is an actual fact that more men have 
gone out of the banking business than have gone into it. 

But it will be suggested, or has been, that it is the dread of specie 
resumption in January, 1879, that does this. Now, one would suppose 
that if there was so much money to be made in the banking business 
they would all stay in it until about three months before that time, 
and then go out. But because, there is to be resumption in 1879 they 
all go out now. Don't you see it? When they might remain in bus- 
iness and go out ninety days before the 1st of January, 1879, and 
make all these enormous profits between now and then, why should 
they go out now? What regulates the price of corn? It is the 
amount there is raised and the demand there is for it, is it not? What 
regulates the price of labor? The amount of labor that is done and 
the number of men who are ready to do it. What regulates the profit 
on money? The amount of money that there is to be used and the 
demand there is for it. 

But my friend may suggest it is the dread of this resumption in the 

66 Ddxde at WUmington. 

future that is paralyzing our industry. Has it paralyzed the farmers 
this last summer? Didn't they get all the crops they could raise, and 
if crops were poor it was because of the flood and the bad weather, 
and not because of their failure to work. The resumption law didn't 
scare a farmer from planting a hill of corn. It did n't keep a man 
from hoeing a hill. You thought there would be sale for all the corn 
you could raise ; that it would pay to make pork, and the corn 
is bringing a fair price now, and the pork is bringing a good price. 
The specter of resumption in 1879 did n't turn a pig away from the 
swill — [laughter] — didn't stunt the growth of an ear of corn. Why, 
the very corn has been teaching you a lesson. It waved in luxuriant 
greenbacks all the summer, and it is being redeemed and turned into 
hard gold now in the autumn. [Applause.] 

There will always be a sale for every thing for which there is a de- 
mand. There is a demand for corn and a sale for corn, a demand for 
pork and a sale for pork. There is no demand for those articles where 
the production has been over-stimulated. Let us look at this thing 
very fairly and frankly. 

When we were in the war, a million of men here in the North were 
taken out of our industries, and while they were in the field they 
made nothing, but they used things up very fast. All the men from 
the South that were in the army produced nothing. They used things 
up very fast. When the war came to its close the soldiers came home. 
Very many of us had become tired of the quiet life that there is on a 
farm. The men here in this audience know that it was hard work and 
irksome to come back to a quiet farm after they had been on the 
march and in the battle, and they drifted, very many of them, into 
the cities and towns, and into the factories. There has not been labpr 
enough on the farnis of this country for the last seven or eight years, 
but there is now too much labor in the cities and the large towns. 
You can't help the thing by forcing an artificial growth of industry 
in the cities and towns. Labor must go where labor is needed. 
Money must go where money is needed. Supply and demand will 
regulate this thing better than conventions or politicians. If it would 
pay to have but a thousand coal mines in the State of Ohio, and there 
are a thousand and ten, then either those ten must stop working, or 
the whole thousand and ten will make but very little profit. If there 
is demand only for a certain amount of iron and more iron is made, 
then somebody in the iron business will break, or else aU of. the iron 
business will be depressed. I will take an illustration from my own 
calling. If there is room in this city of WilmijQgton for bist five 

Woodfor(rs Reply. 67 

lawyers, and eight come here, and there are three too many, by Sat- 
urday night some week three of these attorneys will be thinking that 
there are not so many greenbacks in circulation as th« wants of trade re- 
quire, and they will be applying to the Central Democratic Committee 
for some of those greenbacks that the wants of trade demand. [Ap- 
plause and laughter.] 

My friend will suggest that it is fear of resumption that crushes us 
down, and he citesthe example of England. Now, Englidi resumption 
was an entirely different thing from that proposed in our bill. English 
resumption worked from the top downward, and compelled the banker 
a^nd trader to pay at a certain time in gold. We have passed no such 
law. There is no law that you shall pay your debts in gold on the 
1st of January, 1879, except under one contingency. There is no law 
that any bank shall pay its debts in gold, except under one contingency. 
The Government does say this : " We will get ready if we can by the 
1st of January, 1879, to make the greenbacks of the country equal to 
gold, and to pay gold for them."* Where will the greenbacks be then 
located ? The law requires every bank to hold fifteen per cent, of its 
deposits in those greenback notes, ten per cent, in the vault of the bank 
itself, and five per cent, in the redemption agency at Washington. 
When these greenbacks are gold you see that they will thus be distrib- 
uted at once all over the country. They are already in the bank 
vaults, and will be there when the* day of resumption arrives. The 
bank will not have to redeem its notes in gold until the Government 
has made the "greenback gold. 

Now I believe that this can be done. Let us see if it can not. Is 
not every national bank note redeemable in a greenback dollar to-day ? 
Yes. There are about $350,000,000 of national bank notes. There are 
to-day $373,000,000 of greenbacks. Then there are enough of green- 
backs to redeem the national bank notes now, and have $23,000,000 to 
spare. Now I want to ask you this question: If $373,000,000 of green- 
backs will redeem and float $350,000,000 of national bank notes, will 
not $373,000,000 of gold redeem and float $350,000,000 of national 
bank notes ? 

I will state that again. Every bank note is to-day redeemable in a 
greenback. You can get a greenback under the law for every national 
bank note that you hold. There are $373,000,000 of greenbacks. 
There are $350,000,000 of national bank notes. There are $23,000,000 
laaore of greenbacks than there are of national bank notes? Of course 
the present greenbacks will redeem the present national bank notes, 
and leave greenbacks ih spare. Then will not the same amount of gold — 

68 DebaJte at Wilmington, 

8373,000,000 of gold— float S350,000,000 of national bank paper, if 
^373,000,000 of greenbacks will do it? Now try to bear that in mem- 
ory during the ne^^t year when people endeavor to stump yoti about 
this matter of redemption. If the greenbacks sustain the credit of the 
country, the gold certainly and inevitably will. 

But, it will be suggested that the exchanges of the country are to-day 
thirty billions of dollars — thii'ty thousand million — or, to state it in the 
other form, thirty billions of dollars, nearly fifteen timeg the entire ag- 
gregate of the present national debt. All those exchanges are effected 
with what? With $373,000,000 of greenbacks and $350,000,000 of na- 
tional bank notes. The bank notes are redeemable in the greenbacks. 
The $373,000,000 of the greenbacks support and sustain the enormous 
credit business of the country. Of that amount about $170,000,000 
are held as the reserves in different banks, and that fund of reserves 
sustains the entire present credit business of the country. If paper 
will do this, will not gold, that is worth a great deal more, do it better? 

But my friend says that the execution of this resumption law 
will add sixteen per cent, to your indebtedness. It does n't add a 
dollar. What do you owe to-day, if you owe any thing? Suppose 
you owe a hundred dollars. You owe a hundred doUar debt 
that you can pay with $100 in greenbacks, and you can't pay your 
neighbor with any thing but $100 in greenbacks, if he insists on hav- 
ing them. He will take bank nfttes, and why? Because the bank 
notes will always bring the greenbacks. Very well. If the Govern- 
ment make the greenback gold, it will \^e just as easy for you to trans- 
fer that greenback into gold as to handle the greenback. You have 
only got to go to your bank. Whenever the currency basis is gold, all 
the values of the country will have been lifted up, and that is the 
great feat of the resumption law. 

The Government says : *' We made you take that paper in the hour 
of our extremity and need. It was a forced loan. We compelled you 
to take it because our safety and our salvation demanded it. We will 
not put a burden upon you. We will not ask a man to pay a dollar 
in gold, or a bank to pay a dollar in gold, till we, the Government, 
that contracted the debt, put our broad shoulders under the wheel, and 
instead of depressing the industries of the country, lift the industries 
of the country up, so that every paper doUar shall be a gold dollar, 
buying what the gold dollar will, actually worth what it claims to be 
worth to-day, what it was worth yesterday, and what it will be worth 
to-morrow." [Applause.] 

I proceed to the next point. Kesumption of 'specie payment does 

Woodfcyrd's Beply. 69 

not involve a dollar of increase in th^ national debt, when you take 
the years together. Here we strike the error that lies at the bottom 
of this entire discussion. The greenback is just as much a debt of 
this country as is the bond. The difference between the greenback 
and the bond is simply this : the bond is the promise of the Govern- 
ment to pay gold twenty years from nov>^, with gold interest in the 
meanwhile, and the bond is not a legal tender in the payment of debt. It 
does not have that element of value. The greenback, on the other 
hand, is the promise to pay a certain number of dollars, at no given 
date, and without interest. The greenback, in order to give it the 
quality of circulation, has upon its back the indorsed authority of the 
Government that it shaJl be a legal tender in the payment of debt. 
Do not forget this ; because the subtle logic of my friend will natur- 
ally seek here to mislead you. 

The greenback dollar is as much a debt of the Government as is 
the bonded dollar. Let us read the language of this greenback: 
**The United States will pay the beater five dollars." It does not say, 
**This is five dollars," but ** The United States will pay the bearer five 
dollars." What are the five dollars? Something behind that bill; 
not another bill like it; something back of it. You give me your 
note. When it becomes due I ask payment. I present it to you. 
You say : " Certainly, Mr. Woodford. I belong to the inflation party 
of Ohio, and I believe in paying my debts promptly at maturity." 
You open your desk, and you sit down, and with flowing ink and a 
round hand you write me a bigger note than I had before, and you 
give it to me, and you say : *' There, Mr. Woodford, consider yourself 
paid." [Laughter.] After awhile I get a little weary, and I bring 
your note back to you, and you reach me a bigger and a handsomer 
note yet, and you say: ^*If you do not consider that payment of 
debt, then you have not faith enough to believe in a "Brindle " dollar, 
or to vote for his Excellency, Governor Allen, and there is no hope for 
you." [Laughter and applause.] The United States will pay five 
dollars. The greenback is the debt of the Government just as much 
as is the bond, only because it does not pay interest on the greenback 
— it gives you the privilege of paying your debts with it until 'the 
Government shall keep its promise. Do I err in my statement ? 

Now suppose that the Government had ' put out four hundred mil- 
lions of coin, do you think that it would cferry that coin as part of 
its debt? After you have paid a man a hundred silver dollars, do 
you still owe him the dollars? No. When the Government pays 
coin, it no longer owes a debt. The, coin is the debt paid, and it 

70 Debate ai Wilmington, 

stands. It not only represents value, but ts in and of itself actual 
value, irrespective of the decree of the Government. It wiU buy, 
tliough the Government did not make it a legal tender. The gold 
coin and the silver coin of foreign nations is not a legal tender in this 
Government under the law. The law of this Government says, *'No 
foreign gold or silver coin shall be a legal tender in payment of debt,*' 
and yet the foreign gold and silver is worth more than our paper 
promise to j)ay because it has actual value in itself, as a bushel of com 
has value, as a yard of cloth has value, as an acre of land has value. 
The value is in the thing. 

Now, I might cut off, by accident, the top of that bill, and it would 
still be five dollars. It is the promise of the Government. That bill 
might be burned, and I could make the Government give me another, 
because it is a note. It is a promise to pay. But see how gold is 
made a legal tender: *'The gold coins of the United States shall be a 
legal tender in all payments to their nominal value, when not below 
the standard weight provided by law : . . . and when reduced to 
weight below such standard, shall be a legal tender at valuation in 
proportion to their actual weight." So that if 1 take a ten-dollar gold 
piece and cut it in two, either half is only legal tender for the amoimt 
that is left. 

I now turn to the statement of the debt of the United States. Here 
it is : *^ Debt bearing interest in coin," so much ; " debt bearing inter- 
est in lawful money," so much; next is **debt bearing no interest," so 
much. Next are legal tender notes, $374,000,000. So the Govern- 
ment owes them. Then if the Government buys gold/ and pays them, 
all the difference will be that it has transferred a non-interest-bearing 
debt into an interest-bearing debt. Ought it not to do so? If I can 
not pay you what I owe, ought I not to pay you the interest on it? 
The bond-holder gets his interest. Ought not the bill-holder to get his 
principal ? But my friend says that in doing this you add to the inter- 
est volume of the debt. You do not, however, add to the principal. 
You owe the four hundred millions of legal tenders now. You will 
only owe the bonds given for the four hundred millions of gold then. 
The volume of the principal of the debt will not have been changed. 

But it may be said the legal tender is not to be paid in gold. Let 
iLs go, then, right back to the authority that my friend is fond of quot- 
ing — the Supreme Court of the United States. In the case of the 
Bank against the Supervisors, reported in 7 Wallace 29, the late Chief- 
Justice used these words, and this I believe to be the law of the land : 
'* Under the exigencies of the times, it seems to have been thought in- 

Woodford's Reply, 71 

expedient to attempt any provision for the redemption of the United 
States notes in coin. The law, therefore, directed that they should be 
made payable to the bearer at the Treasury of the United States, but 
did not provide for payment on demand. The period of payment was 
left to be determined by the public exigency. Every one of these ex- 
presses upon its face an engagement of the nation to pay the bearer 
a certain sum. The dollar note of the Government is an engagement 
to pay a doUar, arid the dollar intended is the coin dollar of the United 
States — a certain quantity in weight and fineness of gold or silver, au- 
thenticated as such by the stamp of the Government." No other dol- 
lars had before been recognized by the legislation of the United States 
as lawful money. So that same dollar, the greenback, is to be paid in 

But it is again suggested that by payment in gold we shall transfer 
a non-interest-bearing debt into an interest-biaring debt. This is so. 
To raise four hundred million dollars in gold, you must now sell five 
per cent, bonds at about par, so that the interest on four hundred 
millions will be twenty millions of coin per annum. Four hundred 
millions will not be required. There are to-day but three hundred and 
seventy-three millions of greenbacks. But let us make the figures on 
the basis of four hundred million dollars. We add nothing to the 
principal. The treasury makes no distinction between the gold and 
the paper dollar in keeping its accounts, because some day the paper 
dollar has to be paid in gold. We add twenty million dollars to the 
interest account of the country. Now, let us see how this will work. 
Having decided upon a plan of finance, the Government authorizes 
the Secretary of the Treasury to issue fifteen hundred millions of five 
per cent, bonds, and if he can sell them at par, to fund an equal 
amount on which we are now paying six per cent. We have thus 
funded -five hundred millions. The interest on that five hundred mil- 
lions at six per cent, was just five milKon dollars more than it is at 
five per cent. So on that transaction we have saved five millions of 
interest. If we stand up steadily and say that we propose to keep the 
faith of the United States, and pay our debt to the bill-holder and 
the bond-holder, we shall fund the remaining thousand million at five 
per cent., and save one per cent, on that. That will be ten million' 
dollars saved. We shall then have saved fifteen million dollars, and 
the new interest will be but twenty, so that we shall be out on the 
transaction but five million dollars. These figures I think even my 
friend will not venture to dispute. 

6m. Evring. — I certainly shall. 

72 Debcde at Wilmington, 

Gov. Woodford, — I shall begin to think at last that my friend has 
thoroughly gone over. I shall stop talking to him, and talk entirely 
to you. That will increase the interest account just 65,000,000. Now, 
my friend said at Circleville, on Saturday, that all the bonds that have 
changed hands since the act of 1869, are to be paid in gold. I could 
not state his condemnation of the law in terms stronger than he does 
himself, so that I will leave him to do it for himself. Hd says it is 
the sad fact that all those bonds that have changed hands since 1869 
are to be paid in gold, and only those in greenbacks that have not 
changed hands since 1869. 

I asked my friend how he proposed to put out the $350,000,000 of 
new greenbacks, and he said that he w(|uld go into the open market, 
as I understood him, and buy the bonds at the best price he could. 
Bonds are now 120. To buy $300,000,000 of bonds it would take 
$360,000,000 of greenbacks. ' You would cancel $300,000,000 of the 
principal of the national debt. You would add $360,000,000 to the 
principal, and the net result would be an increase of the principal of 
the debt by just $60,000,000. That will pay the $20,000,000 interest 
for three years at the least. 

But that amount of new greenbacks will not begin to do the work ; 
and why ? Because you Want money for the demands of trade. You 
propose to go down to Wall Street and take those three hundred and 
sixty millions of new greenbacks that you have printed, and buy up 
three hundred millions of bonds, and cancel the bonds. Where does 
that leave the three hundred and sixty millions of greenbacks ? Not 
here in the country to supply the wants of trade, but down in New 
York, where we have got more than we want now. That surely does 
not and will not help. 

But our Democratic friends also propose to retire the circulation of 
the national banks. Now let us see how this can be done. I can not 
follow my friend into the far heights of metaphysics, for my liead 
swims when it gets among the clouds. Well, they print three hundred 
and fifty millions of greenbacks. They call in the national bank 
notes. Are they going to make those greenbacks a present to the 
national banks in exchange for the national bank notes? That will not 
help trade or the people. That will only help the banks. They are 
going to compel the banks to retire their three hundred and fifty mill- 
ions of bills now out. Is that inflation ? That is contraction. Every 
bill that a national bank has got out it must hunt for. It can not 
lend a dime. It stops its discounts, to-morrow. With one voice the 
banks will say: ** We are compelled to retire our bills. We have 

Woodford's ikeply. 73 

got to turn in our bills and take up our bonds. We can not and will 
not lend you a dime." The pall of death settles on your industries. 
A man wants money to pq-y his laborers, but he can get no discounts. 
The banks are hauling in their bills, and the Government is doing 
what ? It does n't propose to give its greenbacks to the banks, does it ? 
It can't steal, the bonds that the banks have deposited with it as se- 
curity, because, as ray distinguished opponent admits, the banks have 
mainly bought, them since /1 869. They were shrewd enough 'to 
change them, so that the bonds the banks hold must be paid in gold, 
even according to the theory of my friend. The Government can not 
exchange its greenbacks for the bank bills. But suppose they even 
do that. Suppose the Government goes to the banks and says, ''We 
want your bills, and we will give you the greenbacks for them." 
What will the Government then do with the bilk? Is it going to 
lose that $350,000,000, and put it in the debt, as well as the $350,- 
000,000 of greenbacks? Of course not. 

Contraction ! There never was a scheme at the root of which there 
lay such absurdity,* and whose fruit can only be destructive to the in- 
dustries of the country. Think of it ! Every bank stops its discounts ; 
every business man is compelled to pay at once without mercy; every 
body is brought up standing, and these bank bills raked in from all 
over the country. That $350,000,000 of greenbacks may be spent in 
the purchase of bonds and those bonds bought in Wall Street, and the 
result is this: Not a dollar of bank currency in the country; your 
bank bills taken from you, and the $350,000,000 of greenbacks issued 
in their place all turned into Wall Street that men may accumulate 
there more and still more. It is as inevitable as that sunrise follows 
the sunset. 

You will be told, or you may have been told already, that this is 
a struggle between the money of the people and the money of pet cor- 
porations. We have two kinds of money power down in New York. 
I can talk plainly about that, for I know that thing myself. We have 
men in Wall Street who gamble in stocks and in gold. Can you gam- 
ble in any thing that^ has a fixed value ? Gambling is betting on the 
value that something will have to-morrow. You can gamble in pork, 
because pork may rise or fall in value ; but you can not gamble in 
the number of pounds of pork. You can gamble in wheat, because 
wheat rises and falls; but you can not gamble in the number of 
bushels. You can gamble in wool, but you can not gamble in the 
number of pounds. You can not gamble in gold when gold has a 
fixed value, so that it measures value and is always the same. You 

74 Debate at WUmington. 

can only^ gamble in gold when there is a difference between gold and 
paper. You see that is as clear sCs sunlight. When gold has a fixed 
value, it is a measure; when it changes in value, it is a coiMiodity. 
If you come back to specie payment, it is a measure. Untiiyou do 
get back there, it is a commodity. You can gamble in gold to-day, 
when you are on a paper basis. Did you ever hear of any gambling 
in gold in the old time when we were on a specie basis? Yet they 
say that the gold gamblers of New York want resumption. I will tejl 
you the men in New York who want resumption. The g]^eat bankers 
who discount the notes given by merchants all over the West to the 
merchants in New York — they want resumption. So also the great 
merchants of New York, who sell to the entire country, want resump- 
tion, and they seek it for your good ks well as their own. How will 
it help Alexander T. Stewart, who sells his goods to merchants all 
over the country, to break down those merchants who trade with him? 
How will it help Horace B. Claflin, who sells his goods all over the 
country, to cut the throat of 'the credit of the coimtry ? 

What is New York ? She is not a power within herself. She is a 
representative to-day of the money that circulates all over the country, 
and what makes for your welfare makes for the welfare of New York. 
What helps the farmer of the Scioto, toiling in the Scioto Valley, what 
helps the miner in the Hocking Valley, what helps the iron man in 
the Youngstown country, what helps any man here, helps the honest 
industries 'and the honest business of New York. The only New 
Yorkers, with comparatively few exceptions, who are standing with 
the inflationists of Ohio in this mad crusade against the nation's credit, 
are the men who are gambling in gold; and I want them and the 
Ohio inflationists to go up in a balloon or down into the grave, on6 
way or the other. [Applause.] Of course, I said that metaphorically, 
about the grave. [Laughter.] 

My friend has some questions that he wants answered. He asks, 
first : "Is the Republican party of the United States in favor of the 
execution of the Specie Resumption Law?" 

On the 10th of July, 1872, the National Democratic party, gathered 
in convention at Baltimore, resolved as follows: "That the public 
credit must be sacredly maintained ; and we denounce repudiation in 
every form and guise, and a speedy return to specie payments is de- 
manded alike by the highest considerations of commercial morality and 
honest government." I presume that the Republican party of to-day, 
like the National Democratic party of 1872, is in favor of an honest 
and earnest effort to execute the Specie Resumption Law. 


Woodford's Iteplij. 75 

My friend asks : " Was not every vote in faVor of it cast by Kepub- 

I am pained to say that every vote in favor of it was so cast by Re- 
publicans. After the national record of the Democratic party in 1872, 
I had trusted that the parties would have shaken hands, and would 
have stamped out this repudiation idea forever ; but if my Democratic 
brothers have gone back wanafcring after strange gods, I rejoice that 
the Republicans have not followed them. [Laughter.] 

Third : "Is the Republican party in favor of continuing in the na- 
tional banks the power to issue paper currency ? " 

The Republican party is in favor of a volume of currency that shall 
equal the demands of trade, and be regulated by the demands of trade. 
It wants trade and the people to regulate that volume themselves, and 
does not want Congress to do it. It is in favor of having the Govern- 
ment make but one kind of money — gold and dilver — the money of the 
Constitution. It is in favor of holding the national banks to a strict 
accountability ; of compelling them to redeem their issues, and of allow- 
ing the paper currency, which is not money, and never can be money, 
until it has been paid in coin — it is in favor of having that currency 
issued by business corporations, and is opposed to the Government 
going into the banking or baking or farming or mailufacturing bus- 
iness. [Applause.] 

Fourth : " Was the power of the General Government to issue legal 
tender paper money derived from the Constitution ? If not, whence was 
it derived? If it was derived from the Constitution, what provision 
of tliat instrument limits the exercise of the power to time of war ? " 

I am, unfoftunately, unable to use words which my friend compre- 
hends. That is my fault, and not his. Let me repeat what I have 
said on another occasion. I do not believe that in the Constitution 
of my country there is the slightest warrant for making any thing 
except gold and silver — the old hard money of Andrew Jackson and 
Thomas H. Benton — a legal tender under the Federal Constitution for 
the payment of debts within this land. And yet I admit that the 
greenback is, to-night, a legal tender in the payment of debts. 

How and why? Let me take a yery simple illustration. The Con- 
stitution gave no right in its terms to make any money out of paper. 
It did authorize Congress to coin money. You do n^t coin paper. You 
print paper. You coin money. But though there was not that author- 
ity, still the greenback is legal, and for this reason : I have no right to 
kill you. If I killed you this moment without cause, I should be 
arrested, tried, convicted, hung. But if, as I was leaving this hall to- 


76 DeboiU at Wilmington, 

night, you sprang at my throat and tried to take ray life, though I have 
no right to kill you, yet, in the exercise of the right to save the life that 
God has given me, I would be justified in taking your life, and should 
not break the written law in so doing, because I have a right to live. 
Precisely so when we were in the throes of the Rebellion. There wa.s 
no authority in the written letter of the law to make the greenback 
money and stamp it with a legal tender quality ; but when rebellion 
had sprung at the nation's life, when credit was impaired, when money 
could not be obtained, then in that hour, because our nation had a 
right to live, we violated the written letter of the Constitution and 
issued the greenback, and saved the life of the nation. 

That issue was constitutional, because necessary to save the life of 
the nation ; but now in peace, when that life is no longer in danger, 
let us cling to the old Constitution as it was interpreted by Daniel 
Webster for the Whigs, and Andrew Jackson, Thomas H. Benton, 
George H. Pendleton, and Wm. Allen, for the Democrats, and let 
us declare that gold and silver is the money of the Constitution. 
[Applause.] # 


For the first time in this debate we have had upon the other side 
something approaching a square discussion of the- actual issues. In 
the first place, the gentleman says that the Secretary of the Treasury 
is bound to redeem this fractional currency, but that he may redeem it 
through postmasters and agencies of the Government scattered over 
the country, and if you want any silver for your fractional currency, 
when he is ready to redeem, go to your postmasters. Aye, he may re- 
deem it through postmasters, but the law does n't require him to redeem 
it through them. The law allows him to select any one of a large 
number of enumerated agencies. Among the rest are the brokers, who 
are appointed, like Henry Clews & Co., special agents of the Govern- 
ment. You may have seen in the papers recently that Henry Clews & - 
Co. got their appointment by employing a couple of men who were 
supposed to have special influence with the Administration, and 
agreeing to pay them twenty per cent, of the profits they would make 
as special agents. Such are the agencies that the Treasury Depart- 
ment have in these corrupt times employed. Such are the agencies 
through which they will take up and destroy your fractional money. 

Emng's Rejoinder. 77 

Such are the agencies through which they have taken up that 
$2,600,000. Why should you not have had your share of that 
$2,600,000 if the fractional currency was to be redeemed through 
postmasters? That provision of the law is a mere blind. 

My opponent in this discussion says that the $2,600,000 has gone to 
California and China, where it is money. Yes, and there the balance 
of the $44,000,000 will go, and where will your fractional currency 
be ? He says that when gold gets down to eight per cent, then silver 
will be at par. But when will it get down to eight per cent. ? Im- 
mediately upon the passage of this specie resumption law it ran up — 
before there was one word of agitation against this law — before a dozen 
men west of the Alleghenies understood its effect at all. It ran up 
from ten per cent, premium to seventeen, because the eastern dealers 
in gold knew perfectly well that the necessity for the purchase of 
$375,000,000 of gold, the necessity to wrest that vast amount of treas- 
ure from the money markets of Europe, would keep gold up at a high 
premium ; and it has been higher every day since that law passed than 
it was on the day it passed. Consequently silver has never been below 
five per cent, premium, and it is now up to eight, and, according to 
the gentleman's own admission, if issued now will not remain in cir- 
culation among the people. 

You will have $44,000,000 of contraction of the currency in that 
one item, and of that part of the currency you are least able to spare — 
the fractional money, so indispensable to the ordinary business of the 
people. So much for the gentleman's statement. It is a fiill admission 
of all I have claimed. He says that the Secretary of the Treas- 
ury states that the Comstock lode will produce $4,000,000 of silver, 
with which to take up this fractional currency, and he endeavors to 
convey the impression that the $12,000,000 already bought was Amer- 
ican silver. It was not ; it was made up of old coins bought in Ger- 
many, as stated in the public press and never denied by any body. 
It was Germany's cast-off silver. We gave our five-per-cent. gold 
bonds for it, and brought it over here to the amount of $12,000,000, 
for the purpose of coinage. 

" Whenever gold falls to 108, silver will float," he says. What is 
the value of that statement in the light of the fact that gold steadily 
keeps up to 116 @ 117 during the very time that the Secretary is ex- 
ecuting that provision of the law to take up and destroy your fractional 
currency ? He must do it as speedily as practicable. He is allowed 
no discretion. He must go right on buying up the fractional currency 
and issuing the silver as fast as it can be done. He has already done 

78 Debcde at WUmbigton. 

it to the extent of $2,600,000, and it will all be done before gold ap- 
proaches 108 or silver comes down to anywhere near par — and as long 
as it is one per cent, above par you may be perfectly certain that not 
one dollar of it will be left afloat in the community, but it will all be 
bought up and shipped off. 

The gentleman comes now to the national banks. He says they pay 
interest on their bonds, and that they are the only holders of bonds 
who do pay interest upon them, and he quotes the authority of Judge 
Marshall (which, of course, I do not dispute) for the proposition that 
the bonds of the United States are not taxable (unless the authority be 
given by the United States) by any local authority. As they are not 
taxable, how does the Government tax the bonds in the hands of the 
national banks ? It does n't tax them. It is an utter misstatement 
of fact. Suppose you have a bank here with a hundred thousand dol- 
lars of stock and ninety thousand dollars of circulation. That stock has 
been put into United States bonds. Those bonds are not taxable. The 
stock is taxable. So is the stock in a manufacturing company; so is 
the stock in any company. It is the stock that is the capital, and the 
credit on which the depositors rely. That hundred thousand dollars is 
taxed, although the bank does n't take any circulation or does n't have 
a United States bond at all. So the purchase of bonds of the United 
States with that capital does n't make the capital itself any more or 
any less taxable than it otherwise would be. 

The gentleman talks as if the retirement of the bank circulation 
would be the instant destruction of all banking business. He says 
that the banks will all be compelled, to iDstantly call in their loans, 
and to say to persons wanting to borrow : " We can't lend you a 
dime, because the Government is going to take up our circulation." 
It is an utter delusion. Take those banks that have already retired 
$25,000,000 of their circulation. How did they retire it ? You 
have two banks here with a capital of $100,000 and $90,000 ,of 
circulation each. What is the mode of retirement ? Why, the bank 
gets together say $30,000 of greenbacks, and sends them to the Treas- 
ury. It does n't necessarily take up its own notes. It takes green- 
backs or its own notes, either one that may be convenient, and sends 
say $30,000 to the Treasury. In return for that the Secretary of 
the Treasury sends to the bank $33,000 in bonds. It sells those 
bonds in the New York market at 120. To replace the $30,000 
taken out of its vault, it brings back $39,60i0 and puts in its vault 
to loan to the people. 

The Government holds that $30,000 as security for the ultimate 

Ewirufa R^oinder. 79 

redemption of an equal amount of national bank circulation, and 
if these two banks in Wilmington should choose to retire their cir- 
culation, they could do it without any 'man in town knowing that 
they had done it — without stopping their discounts an hour. The 
only evidence that they had retired their circulation would be the 
fa^t that they had nearly one-third mpre money to loan out to the 

That is being done all around. It is not because the banking busi- 
ness is not profitable. Not at all. You take one of your banks with 
S90,000 of bonds in the # Treasury drawing five per cent, interest. 
These bonds are worth $1.20 in greenbacks. When resumption is 
reached our bonds will only command about $100 of greenbacks for 
every $100 of bonds, because then the greenbacks will be at par with 
gold. The banks say, ** Let us take our $120 of greenbacks now. 
We must be mighty careful whom we loan it to. We must not take 
the ordinary security from business men in this community that we 
formerly did, but let every man give two or three times the ordi- 
nary security, and then let the crash come, and still we will have 
our $120 of greenbacks that in 1879 will be on a par with gold, in- 
stead of having our one hundred dollars in bonds, which will be only 
worth about par in gold." 

Thus the resumption law gives the banks a speculation for contrac- 
tion of the currency. Although heretofore, before this law was passed, 
there was a speculation in the banks keeping afloat their currency, 
there is now a speculation offfered them to take their currency in. The 
object is to reduce the national bank currency in order that after the 
$419,000,000 of greenbacks and fractional currency have been destroyed, 
there will be left only about $250,000,000 of bank money, and they 
have the hope that possibly they may be able to hold enough of the 
gold that the Secretary brings into the country to enable the banks to 
resume specie payment on this diminished volume of currency. 

The gentleman persists in the statement that this law is an inflation 
measure, because it allows one hundred dollars of bank paper to be put 
out, and only requires eighty dollars of greenbacks to be retired. I 
explained to you that that difierence arises from the fact that the 
banks are compelled to keep twenty per cent, of reserve, and that re- 
serve is no circulation. Therefore, so far as the new bank issues are 
made, the retirement of eighty dollars of greenbacks for every hundred 
dollars of new bank issue leaves, deducting the reserve, exactly the 
same circulation that there would have been if there had been no in- 
crease of bank paper. He says the retirement of bank circulation will 

80 Dd>ate ai Wilmington, 

destroy all business, as if the existence of the national banks depended 
on their circulation. It does n't at all. All these banks that have re- 
turned their circulation to the amount of $25,000,000 are still national 
banks. They are still doing business as they always did. K they 
should all retire their circulation and get greenbacks in place of it, the 
banks would still exist, doing the same business as now, and the depos- 
itors and men, dealing with them would probably never know, by any 
action of the banks, that the circulation had been retired. It would 
not disturb the business of any man in the community in the slightest 
possible degree. 

Now I pass from this national bank matter. The gentleman admits 
that he is in favor of continuing this bounty to the banks. He admits 
it is the policy of the Republican party that there should be no paper 
money issued by the General Government. I smoked him out on that 
point. lie has never come out on it before. He says no paper money 
should be issued by the General Government, and there should be 
none issued except through private corporations. The whole control 
of the volume of paper money is to be placed in the hands of pri- 
vate corporations who will expand and contract it as their interest 
demands, and not as the interests of .the people demand. So that is 
his position, and the position of the party which puts him on the stump 
to represent it, respecting these vital issues before the people of Ohio. 

The gentleman says the English resumption law was not like ours. 
He says we propose to commence at the foundation — make the green- 
backs equal to gold, and then every thing else will become as good as 
gold. The English resumption law is, like ours — exactly. Our law is 
copied slavishly from that infamous act that threw the industries of 
Great Britain into bankruptcy, and the laboring classes into pauper- 
ism, and swept off the ownerships of mortgaged farms in the islands 
until, whereas there were 300,000 owners of lands before the resump- 
tion law was passed, under its operation they were cut down to 30,000, 
and the chief part of the soil was wrested from its owners by the 
holders of money securities. The author of that British resumption 
law, Sir Robert Peel, eleven years after its passage, was compelled to 
rise in the House of Commons and admit that it had worked ruin to 
the people, claiming only that it was then too late to retrace the step. 

Oh, you say that you only make the greenback as good as gold. 
You don't make the national bank note as good as gold, I suppose? 
You don't require every man who owes a debt to make that as good 
as gold? It is the same as if the law declared that every debt in the 
United States now existing should, on and after the first of January, 

Ewing^s Rejoinder. 81 

1879, be paid in gold instead of that money which we understood the 
debts were to be paid in when they were made. We have all been 
contracting debts in this greenback currency. All this accumulation 
of debt has been made for which greenbacks only have been received, 
and with the full understanding that greenbacks only were to be paid. 
Now, by this adroit manipulation on the part of the holders of this 
vast volume of debt they undertake to turn it from a greenback debt 
into a gold debt, adding seventeen per cent, to the eight billion dollars 
of currency indebtedness now outstanding. 

My friend says you can pay it in greenbacks. Aye, but getting the 
greenbacks on par with gold involves this contraction of the currency, 
and the contraction of the currency involves a fall in all the values of 
labor and property and with which only the greenbacks can then be 
got. If you shrink every thing that can buy a greenback on the first 
of January, 1879 ; if you shrink all labor and property seventeen per 
cent., is it not an addition of seventeen per cent, to the difficulty of 
paying the debt ? The shrinkage will be vastly more than seventeen 
per cent. The shrinkage will equal the amount of contraction of the 
currency, as it did in England. To reach specie payment when the 
British notes were only three per cent, discount, they shrank the cur- 
rency forty-five per cent. To reach specie payment now, when our 
currency is seventeen per cent, discount, we must shrink our currency 
at least sixty per cent!., and all the means by which debts can alone be 
paid will be shrunk in the same ratio, and, practically, every man that 
is at all considerably in debt — I don't care whether other people owe 
him or not — may prepare for bankruptcy if this devilish scheme for 
destroying the business of the country, for piling up the burden of 
debt, of salaries, of taxes — if this devilish scheme is executed under 
the ingenious but spurious morality of returning to what the gentleman 
calls honest money. The greenback currency is the money that we got 
when we contracted these debts, and that we understood we were to 
pay. Dishonest money and dishonest legislation inhere in this resump- 
tion law that compels us to pay this vast volume of debt in some other 
currency higher in value than that we got for the debts, and that the 
creditors perfectly well understood they were to receive for them. 

The gentleman admits that we will increase our bonded debt ?400,- 

000,000 by this resumption law. Four hundred million dollars of five 

per cent, gold bonds must be issued and sold to execute it. But he 

says, on the other side, we will fund our debt into bonds bearing a 

lower rate of interest. We were doing it before the resumption law 

passed. We did four times as much before the resumption law passed 

82 Debate at WUrmngton, 

as we have done since, and we can do it without the resumption law 
just as well as with it. That reduction of interest on'the public debt 
is a right that the people shoiild enjoy. It is not a right the Republi- 
can party may justly appropriate and use as a pretext, for enormously 
increasing the burden of the debt of the United States, and of the per- 
sons, communities and corporations now owing debts. 

I am glad my friend has been so frank in his admissions. He says 
greenbacks were constitutional and valid, although the constitution did 
not give any power to issue them. The Supreme Court says that the 
Constitution does give^the power to issue them, and the Court does not 
confine its reasoning or its statement to issues in time of war. Un- 
der the reasoning of that -Court the issue is just as good in time of 
peace as in time of war. Therefore, the people may strike down this 
parasite system by which the national banks are fattening on their en- 
ergies to the extent of $18,000,000 per annum by furnishing them a 
currency inferior to the greenback, a currency redeemable in the peo- 
ple's money, and to supplant which we should issue the people's money 
itself. Gentlemen, my time is up. I am much obliged to you for 
your attention. 



JE^T^tdiay JlfteT'Thoon, Oct. 9, 1875. 


Messrs, Chairmen and Gitizens of Tiffin: — 

We are met to discuss the financial questions of this canvass. If pos- 
sible let us get at the root of the matter in the beginning. The first 
thing that suggests itself to our thought, in considering this subject, is 
the very simple and natural question, What is money ? 

What is money? It is usually defined by writers and thinkers on Po- 
litical Economy, as being the measure of value, the instrument or me- 
dium of exchange. You work for your neighbor. By agreement with 
him, you determine on the value of your service, and that value is 
measured by the article we call money. Your labor is worth so many 
dollars a day ; your corn so many cents a bushel ; your land so many 
dollars an acre. Men can not conveniently carry around that which 
they desire to exchange or barter. Nor can they, as a general thing, 
actually swap it off for the article which they want in return. It is 
not possible for a man to carry 300 bushels of corn with him, but he 
can carry the money that represents the value of the corn. He can nSt 
always drive his herd of cattle about with him, but he can carry the 
money that represents their value. Money serves the same use in 
measuring value, that a yardstick does in measuring cloth ; that a 
bushel does in measuring quantity; that a pound does in measuring 
weight. Money, jthen, is the measure of value, the instrument of ex- 

We have in use at the present time two kinds of money, both of 
which are recognized by the Federal law. One consists of gold and 
silver. It is the money of the old Constitution, the money that we 
knew, and recognized, and understood in the old time before the Rebellion. 


84 DebaJte at Tiffin. 

It is the money that Daniel Webster, speaking on behalf of the Whigs, 
said was the "only legal tender in payment of debt under the Consti- 
tution." It is the money that Andrew Jackson and Thomas H. Benton, 
speaking for the Democrats of the olden time, declared to be the only 
legal tender under the Constitution. It is the money that a distin- 
guished son of Ohio, one William Allen — possibly you may recognize 
the name — once declared to be the only money that the law of the na- 
tion knew. This was many years ago when he was a senator of the 
United States. It is the money that one George H. Pendleton — you 
may also know him — declared to be the only money known and recog- 
nized by the Constitution. This was when the legal tenders were first 
suggested in Congress in 1862, and when Mr. Pendleton was a member 
of that body. It is the money that, until the year 1862, was recognized 
and admitted by the thinkers, by the orators, by the statesmen of all 
parties, to be the money of the Constitution of the nation. j 

We now have still another kind. We have the greenback, which, 
by authority of the Federal law, is declared to be a legal tender in 
the payment of debt. It has no value in and of itself, beyond the j 

paper on which it is printed. The article of which it is composed is \ 

worth seven or eight cents a pound. The article of which the gold 
money of the Constitution is composed, is worth all for which it is 
coined by the Government of the United States. The gold money has 
value in and of itself. The greenback paper has no value in and o^ 
itself. The stamp on the gold money only declares its worth. That 
worth or value is there without the stamp. The promise on the green- 
back doUar pledges the future payment of a dollar, and declares that 
it — that is, such printed promise — is meanwhile a legal tender. The 
value is not in the paper ; the value is in that which is printed upon 
it. Just as the value is not in the promissory note that you gave 
for the article that you have bought; the value is in the words that 
are written on the promissory note. The value, then, of the gold 
dollar is in the gold itself. The value of the greenback dollar is in 
the promise that is printed on it. 

How came this greenback dollar into circulation? 

You all remember that in 1862 we had borrowed much money. 
The military chest was empty. There lay on the table of the Secre- 
tary of the Treasury almost $20,000,000 of warrants for the payment 
of the soldiers and sailors that had not been honored, and could not 
be honored, because there was no gold and silver with which to pay 
them. There lay requisitions for nearly $50,000,000 for the payment 


WoodforJCs Opening Speech. 85 

of supplies for the troops, and for all the enormous expenses of the 

We were then called to face the question as to how we should meet 
these obligations. The Government had no money. It was then pro- 
posed by leaders of the administration party that we should print Gov- 
ernment notes. They should be promises to pay dollars. We would 
issue them as money. We would pay them to our soldiers. With 
them we would discharge the many and great obligations of the Gov- 

But while the Government could force its soldiers, its sailors, and its 
creditors to accept those printed promises, still such promises had no 
value in their hands, except as these soldiers, sailors, and creditors had 
confidence in the intention and good faith of the Government. So the 
Government turned its printed promise over, and wrote upon the back 
an assurance that the greenback dollar should be legal tender in the 
payment of debt. Thus the soldier in the field, who took it in pay- 
ment of his services, was able to send it home, that with it his wife 
might purchase clothing, food, and shelter; that with it he might pay 
his creditor ; that in the extremity of the war it might serve as the 
circulating medium, and enable the business of the country to be 

There was not in the written letter of the Constitution authority to 
do this. The Constitution had given to Congress power to do what? 
I quote, in answer, ihe words of the instrument itself: — power " to coin 
money.'' You coin metal, you can not coin paper. You print paper. 
You do not print gold and silver money. But there ivas power or au- 
thbrity to do this thing. How, and why? Let me use the simple 
illustration that I employed in our opening discussion at Shawnee. 

I have no right to kill you. If I should do it this moment, I 
should violate the written law. I could be arrested, tried, and hung. 
But if, as I was leaving this hall this afternoon, you sprang at my 
throat and tried to take my life, though I have no right under the 
written letter of the law to kill you, I have a higher right to save my 
life by every power that God and nature have put into my hands. 

So, in the hour of the nation's extremity, when gold and silver were 
gone from the Treasury chest, when it was hard to borrow coin, when 
the future was dark, the war prolonged, and its issue doubtful, the 
Government had the right to live. It printed the greenback, and 
made that greenback money, so that thereby it might crush rebellion, 
and save the nation alive. [Applause.] Thus was the greenback bom. 

86 Debate at Tiffin. 

Neither here nor elsewhere has the Republican party one sueer 
against the loyal greenback of the war. We recall the important part 
it bore in the struggle. We honor it so much and love it so well that 
we intend to keep its good faith free from all stain and to fulfill its 
pledge and promise to the very letter. 

These are our two kinds of money, coin and the greenback. Now 
we have a third kind of currency that is in circulation. We have the 
national bank note. This national bank note is not money. It is not 
a legal tender in payment of debt between individual citizens. The 
national bank note is, however, just as good for practical use as the 
greenback. Why as good ? Because you can get a greenback for a 
national bank note whenever you want. The bank is compelled to 
redeem its notes in greenbacks whenever presented. More than this, 
if you held a thousand one doUar notes on a thousand diiferent na- 
tional banks, you could send them in one parcel by express to the 
Treasurer at Washington and he would return to you a thousand dol- 
lars in greenbacks. 

The national bank currency practically answers nearly all the ordi- 
nary business uses that the greenbacks will answer. This is so simply 
because such currency is redeemable in the greenback. 

Right here pause and thoughtfully ask yourselves this one question : — 
Will not the greenback practically answer all the purposes that the 
gold dollar can answer, whenever the greenback is redeemable in the 
gold dollar, just as the bank note answers the purpose of the greenback 
because the bank note is redeemable in the ^eenback ? Let me ask 
you to keep this question in view during the discussion of this after- 
noon. • 

We thus have two legal measures of value in our country. The law. 
makes our gold money a measure of value. It also makes the green- 
back a measure of value. Now are these two measures of equal value, 
the one with the other? We have two of them, both known to the 
law — two kinds of dollars — gold dollars and paper dollars. Are these 
two kinds of dollars equal measures of value ? 

My friend says that I sometimes indulge in what he pleasantly calls 
** object teaching." He adds to this the sneer, the courteous sneer, 
" the retort courteous," that I came from far New York to talk to the 
men of Ohio as, were I a teacher, I should talk to the children in a 
primary school. But I trust this is not so. I have met one distin- 
guished gentleman in Ohio to whom I have thought it quite necessary 
to show the gold doUar quite frequently in order to keep his mind fixed 
on the point of discussion. [Laughter and applause.] So that it will 

Woodford^s Opening Speech, 87 

be rather to m^ distinguished friend and for his benefit than for yours 
that I shall give this lesson of "object teaching" this afternoon. 

I said that we had two kinds of dollars known to the law. Here 
they are. Here is the greenback dollar [showing a five dollar U. S. 
note], and it bears what words on its face? "The United States will 
pay the bearer five dollars." What are the five dollars that this bill 
promises to pay ? There they are [exhibiting a five dollar gold piece]. 
Take a good look at it. You may not have seen one for long years. 
[Laughter.] If the policy advocated by my friend shall succeed, you 
will not see one for many long years to come. [Applause.] This 
greenback reads: "The United States will pay the bearer five dollars," 
That gold piece is one of the first gold coins ever issued from the 
United States Mint. Its date is 1795. The only words printed on it 
are, on one side, "Liberty," on the other, "United States of America." 
There are no words upon it saying, "This is five dollars." Yet it is 
gold, pure gold, coined 80 years ago, and yet worth as much to-day as 
the day when it was stamped. It is five dollars ; the five dollars of 
the Constitution; the five dollars which the greenback promises to 


Am I right in this ? Some gentlemen may say it is the stamp of the 
Government which makes that gold coin worth five dollars^ He may 
say that if the words "This is five dollars" had been on the greenback, 
then the greenback would have been in fact as well as name five dol- 
lars. In other words, some claim that the value is in the stamp. 
The value of that gold piece is, however, in the gold itself. It is 
worth its real intrinsic value here. It is worth that value in London. 
It is worth it in China. It is worth it in Japan. But this greenback, 
if you should go to the Hottentot, who could not read and did not 
know who printed it, would not get you even a night's shelter. He 
would understand the yellow glitter and the meaning of that five dol- 
lar gold piece. That gold is money. It is bread. It is shelter. It is 
life, wherever the sun goes in his journey round the world. But this 
greenback is the promise of five dollars, good where men can read, and 
where men trust the Government that puts it forth. Such is the dif- 
ference between the two. 

Not only is there this great difference in the value of these two 
kinds of money in foreign lands, but there is marked and great differ- 
ence right here at home. The two yardsticks are not of the same 
length. The two bushels do not hold the same amount of corn. The 
two pounds do not weigh the same. That (the gold) is like a yard- 
stick that is always thirty-six inches. This (the greenback) is like a 

88 Debate at Tiffin, 

yardstick that is thirty-four inches one day, thirty-three the next, and 
thirty-two and a fourth the third. That is a bushel that always holds 
a bushel. This is a bushel which changes in quantity with every month, 
with every week, with every day. That is a pound of always the same 
number of ounces. This is a pound of eleven ounces one day, and 
nine ounces the next, and eleven and a half the third. Such is the 
difference between the two right here in 'Ohio. 

Do I err, my Democratic friend ? Money, for practical use, is worth 
what it will buy. Will this [the greenback] buy as much as that 
[the gold piece] here in Tiffin ? Is there an inflationist here who will 
venture to tell me that this live dollar greenback will buy as much as 
that five dollar gold piece here in Tiffin ? No. I can go to your bank 
and I can sell that gold piece for seventeen cents premium on each 
dollar. Five times seventeen are eighty-five. I can get for that gold 
piece another five dollar bill just like this and eighty-five cents in 
fractional money also. Will not $5.85 in paper money buy just 85 
cents worth more than $5 in paper money ? Then this pound is more 
of a pound than that. This bushel is more of a bushel than that. 
This yardstick is more of a yardstick than that. That [showing the 
gold piece] was five dollars yesterday ; that was five dollars when the 
war broke put ; that will be five dollars to-morrow. 

During one dark hour in the war it took $2.80 in .this greenback 
money to buy a doll^ in gold. It takes $1.17 of it to buy a dollar 
in gold to-day. When the Democratic party made their platform in 
Ohio it took $1.14 of it to buy a dollar in gold. Now that this inflar 
tion discussion has gone on, and that Pennsylvania has followed the 
mad will-o'-the-wisp that leads into the bogs of your financial mire, and 
is stuck there alongside of the Ohio Democracy, it takes $1.17 of 
paper to buy a dollar in gold. That gold, which you hear tauntingly 
spoken of as the money of the bond-holder, is worth to-day three cents 
on the dollar, fifteen cents on the fiSTQ dollars, more than it was when 
Ohio began her crusade against hard money. The greenback is worth 
three cents on the dollar, fifteen cents on the five dollars, Zess than it 
was when the Ohio Democrats began their crusade. So the discussion 
through this State has put three cents on the dollar into the pocket of 
every gold-holder; and it has taken three cents on the dollar out of 
the pocket of every bill-holder, of every poor man who gets only paper 
money. [Applause.] 

The Government, under the pressure and necessity of the war, law- 
fully made that paper money legal tender. But it never did, it never 
could, and it never can, regulate or compel the price at which men 


Wbodford^s Opening Speech. 89 

shall sell their property. If you had a farm that m 1863 — (I think it 
wafi in 1863 or '4, when gold was worth 280)— was worth $2,800, I 
could then have bought that farm, if you wished to sell, for $1,000 in 
gold. I could have taken ray $1,000 in gold, gone to a bank, and ex- 
changed it for $2,800 in greenbacks, and they would have paid the 
price of your farm. The Government may make paper a legal tender, 
but it can not regulate prices. If your wages are two dollars a day on 
a gold standard, and paper is so depreciated that gold is worth 150 in 
greenbacks, your wages will be either two dollars in gold or three dol- 
lars in greenbacks. You will require three dollars in paper money to 
buy the coffee, or potatoes, or cloth, that the two gold dollars would 
have bought. 

Government may make paper legal tender, but it can not regulate 
price. It can not tell you for what you shall labor, nor at what figure 
you shall sell your corn, or your cloth, or the products of your farm. 

Now it is suggested that the changing value is in the gold. My 
friend seriously argued the other night before an audience that, 
charmed by his logic and his eloquence, sat open-mouthed and open- 
eared, drinking in the wisdom of his utterance — he actually argued 
that the paper money of the Government was stable, and that the gold 
was what kept bobbing up and down like the mercury in the thermom- 
eter. [Laughter.] 

Let us bring this to a very simple test, and see whether it is the gold 
or the paper that changes in value. When a man wants to speculate, 
he can speculate in corn, because its value changes. But you can not 
speculate in weight, because true weight does not change. You can 
speculate in corn, because com goes up of down. But whoever heard 
of a man speculating in the number of bushels of corn? You can 
speculate in wheat because wheat goes up or down. Whoever heard 
of a man speculating in the number of bushels of wheat? You can 
speculate in wool, because wool varies in value. Whoever dreamed of 
speculating in the weight of the pound of wool ? You can speculate 
in cloth, because cloth changes in value. Whoever heard of speculate 
ing in the length of the yard ? You can speculate in land, because 
land changes in value. Whoever heard of speculating in the size of 
the acre ? 

Now, do not men speculate in gold? Will not my friend tell you 
about this ? He may not, for I think after to-day he will probably let 
this alone. [Laughter^] But he has with seriousness argued else- 
where that gold changed, while the paper money of the Government 
did not. At the same time, with courtesy but with incisive directness, 

90 Debate at Tiffin, 

he has indicated that I was representing the spirit of the gold gam- 
blers of Wall Street. Whoever gambled in gold before the? war, when 
gold had a fixed value, and was a measure of value? Men could gam- 
ble in gold when gold ceased to be money and became a commodity. 
That is, so long as it was money they could not gamble in it. They 
did not gamble in it. But when it became demonetized and was an 
article of traffic, they gambled in it. When it becomes money again, 
they can not gamble in it, because it will then always have the same 

If you wish to stop gold gambling in Wall Street, make gold again 
to be money. Take this money power, of which my friend speaks so 
eloquently, the power of the gambler, right by the throat, and say: 
"We want money as the pay for our labor; we want money as the 
pay for our products ; we want money to be an absolute measure of all 
that we raise and sell." Thus and thus only can we stop gold gam- 
bling. Make gold again to be money, and no man will dare to gam- 
ble in it. [Applause.] 

Now to learn that the inherent value of gold and silver changes very 
little, go back with me over the records of history. By common con- 
sent, gold and silver have been selected from the earliest time as the 
measure of va lue and the instrument of exchange. When the old pa- 
triarchy with pjous care, sought a burial spot where his dear ones might 
rest, he printed no greenbacks, but he paid ibr the field with shekels 
of silver. Through all the ages, civilized nations have used gold and 
silver as t;he ultimate measure of value. Whenever, under the stress 
of temporary necessity they have wandered off and have sought to 
bridge over a temporary evil, by using paper money, one of two re- 
sults has always followed. When the necessity passed and the danger 
was over, they either set themselves resolutely to redeem their paper 
promise, or they inevitably drifted into bankruptcy. There has always 
been either specie resumption or repudiation. There is not an instance 
— (I speak seriously, and I ask this point to be borne in your memory) 
— there is not an instance recorded in the history of the civilized 
world where a government ever put out irredeemable and unsecured 
paper in time of peace, and stamped it with the quality of money, 
that the government did not ultimately repudiate that paper, and the 
nation land in inextricable bankruptcy. 

Do we hope to reverse the history of the world ? Do we hope to 
turn back all the ages that are gone? From every land under the 
sun, from every page of written history, from every people that have 
lived on earth, comes back this one lesson : if you print paper money 

Woodjard^s Opening Speech. 91 

in time of pex^ce, without providing, when you priDt, for its redemp- 
tion in coin, you will inevitably at last repudiate that paper money. 

Repudiation always falls on the laboring and the suffering poor. 
Why? The rich man lives from the accumulations of past toil. The 
poor man from the earnings of to-day. The poor man has nothing 
but his labor to sell. As the paper money goes down and down in 
value, he who must work to live, is paid in it. The man who has 
other property gets rid of his paper money. When the inevitable 
crash comes at the last, the rich have taken care of themselves because 
they could, while the poor men have got only the worthless paper cur- 
rency of the country. [Applause.] 

Now, although we have two legal measures of value, we use but one 
of them when we deal with foreign lands. If you want to buy in 
Canada you must pay in gold. If you want to buy in Europe, you 
must pay in gold. Whatever you buy outside the limit of this coun- 
try you pay for in gold. You can only use your paper money here 
within our own land, where it is protected by the authority of our lo- 
cal law. 

Nay, more than this : although the law nmkes greenbacks a legal 
tender all over the United States, you can not use your paper money 
to-day if you wish to buy cattle in Texas, or wheat in California. If 
you deal in California, you must pay in gold or in greenbacks at their 
gold price. 

If you have stopped at a hotel in the mining country for two days, 
and go down to the clerk's desk in the morning, and say, '* I am going 
away; what is my bill?" He replies: "Ten dollars." You take out 
your pocket-book and hand him a ten-dollar greenback. He says, " I 
meant ten dollars in gold ; the premium on gold is seventeen cents ; if 
you are going to pay liae in greenbacks, your bill is $11.78." You an- 
swer: **il thought you said ten dollars; this money is legal tender." 
He replies : " It is legal tender, but when you pay in paper we charge 
paper prices, and when you *pay in gold we charge gold prices." 

A Voice. — " Prosecute him for being disloyal." 

Gov. Woodford. — Why? Because he wouldn't take the greenback? 

The same Voice. — " Yes, sir, that is what was done during the war." 

Gov. Woodford. — My friend says prosecute him for being disloyal. 
Then the Government is going to do three things. It is not only going 
to print paper and make it money ; it is not only going to make the 
paper a legal tender ; but it is going to tell you what you shall charge 
for your corn, and what you shall charge for your labor. When it 

92 Debate at Tiffin. 

does that, you have got an absolute despotism that even Kussia does 
not begin to equal. [Loud cheers.] 

We try by stamp and authority to make this paper actually money. 
Its value is in what? It is in the promise that is printed upon it. 

Now the business disadvantages of using such a currency lie first in 
this : We are at the mercy of every foreign nation whenever we deal 
with them. We must pay the foreigner in gold. We have our paper 
currency only for use at home. That is disadvantage number one. 

The second disadvantage is this : We do inevitably introduce the ele- 
ment of gambling into all subsequent business transactions. For a 
man not only does business on the expectation of a rise or fall in the 
article that he buys or sells, but he must also take into account the 
shrinkage or the enlargement of that Tvhich he uses as the measure of 
value in conducting his business. Surely I need not pause to argue 
that again at length. I suppose that every thoughtful man appreciates 
the element of uncertainty that enters into business, at once. 

It is an additional evil, that capital becomes timorous, and is scared 
away from business. It dares not expose itself in active trade, because 
it knows not at what hour nor how it may be affected by constant 
changes in greenback values. 

Let me pass on, trusting that my friend will give you, with the 
same frankness and directness that I have sought to employ, his 
views as to the use, the value, and the need of this money, which 
is the root of the question we would discuss. 

But here our ways divide. The Republican party say frankly 
that the greenback was the money of the war. We love it for all 
that it did for us. We love it so well that we would fully keep 
its promise. While we love it so well, still we would not recklessly 
shock or needlessly disturb the industries of the country in order to 
make its promise at once as good as gold. But we do steadily press 
on toward resumption. The path we would walk lies from the mid- 
night of war to the sunrise of peace ; frc^m the paper money that 
we used as the instrument of crushing rebellion to the gold and 
silver money of the Constitution, with only such paper money as is 
redeemable in coin. So soon a^ we can, without unjust shock to 
business and industry, we propose to keep the pledge of our paper 
money and make it actually the gold that it represents. [Applause.] 

We have passed the specie resumption law. It may not be all 
that it should be. The time of resumption may be too late ; it may 
be too early. There may be doubt with regard to the feaability 
of the execution of its provisions. But whatever its defects may be. 

Woodfor<J^8 Opening Speech. 93 

with the same purpose that guided us all through the war, we will 
amend and adapt the measure to secure the end of actual resumption. 
We will do what is right and wise and expedient to secure this result, 
pledging you as we pledged you in the days gone by, that we will 
never crush the industries of the country, but will rather help to 
build them up. This Republican party has always been the party 
that has taken care of the wool-growers on the farms [applause ] ; 
that has taken care of the coal-miners in the Hocking Valley ; that 
has taken care of the iron-workers in the district of Youngstown ; 
that has taken care of the spindles of Massachusetts ; that proposes 
to take care of American industry, always and every-where. Ours 
is the party of labor, j;he party of honest money, and the party of 
loyalty to the issues of the war. [Applause.] 

This law may not be the best possible, but we have embarked in 
this matter of resumption as men embark on a ship. You do not 
propose, when you go on shipboard, to toss and travel, to turn and 
tack forever, and never to go ashore. When a ship leaves New York, 
she sails out on the ocean. Her destination may be Liverpool. She 
may hot always sail directly thither. When winds are fair, sky clear, 
and sea smooth, her prow and course are toward her haven ; but when 
driven aside in the storm, she tacks and veers, and makes first toward 
one point and then toward another ; but the purpose of her voyage is 
to reach Liverpool. 

So it may be with the nation. We mean and intend resumption 
of specie payment at the earliest practicable moment, consistent with 
the industries and business of the country. We niay not be able to 
sail directly thither ; we may have to tack ; we may have to alter our 
course ; but with the compass of absolute honesty to guide our voyage, 
with the prow of the vessel always toward specie resumption, over the 
storm and over the wave will we go, until at last we reach the sure, 
firm land of absolute specie resumption. 

We intend to have money that is money ; a dollar that means 
to-day just what it meant yesterday, that will mean to-morrow only 
what it means to-day. [Applause.] 

l^Time expired,"] 

94 Debate at Tiffin. 


Mr, Chairman and Fellow-citizem : — 

The great question to be discussed here to-day is not whether we 
shall have paper money or gold money for the business of this 
country, but whether we shall have greenbacks or blackbacks. [Ap- 
plause.] It is an old fight in the United States. In 1813, when 
the country was groaning under the burden of the debt of the Rev- 
olutionary War and the War of 1812, Thomas Jefferson, the father of 
the Democratic party, the noblest statesman that has lived in the tide 
of American history, seeing that the seven hundred banks of that day 
were usurping the currency, and believing that the people had a right 
to be relieved of that portion of the interest-bearing debt which an 
adequate circulation would amount to, demanded that " bank paper 
should be suppressed, and the currency restored to the nation, to 
whom it belongs." He proposed the issue of Treasury bills by the 
United States, receivable fi)r all public dues, to relieve the industries 
of th6 country of a large part of the interest-bearing debt, and to 
put an end to the undemocratic and unrepublican practice of giv- 
ing control of the currency to private corporations. My friend has 
had a good deal to say in these debates about the abandonment of 
Democratic principles by the party in Ohio in this canvass. Let 
him look to that historic instance and see what the father of the party 
advised and did then. 

He talks about the examples of other statesmen. See what John C. 
Calhoun, of the strictest sect of strict constructionists, said in 1887, 
when the banks were swarming over the country jyid furnishing all the 
money. That, recollect, was at a day when the Government was out 
of debt, and when the question was not how the people should be re- 
lieved of public burden, but how they could dispose of the surplus rev- 
enue which a light tariff brought in. He said: "No one can doubt 
but that the Government credit is better than that of any bank, — more 
stable and more safe. Bank paper is cheap to those who make it, but 
dear, very dear to those who use it. On the other hand, the credit of 
the Government, while it would greatly facilitate its financial opera- 
tions, would cost nothing, or next to nothing, both to it and the people, 
and would, of course, add nothing to the cost of the operation. It 
would give every branch of our industries, agricultural, commercial, 
'and manufacturing, as far as its circulation might extend, great ad- 
vantages both at home and abroad. And I now undertake to affirm, 


Emn^s Eeply, 95 

and without the least fear that I can be answered, that the paper issued 
by the Grovernment, if you simply promise to receive it for all its dues, 
would, to the extent it would circulate, make a perfect paper circula- 
tion which would not be abused by the Government ; that it would be 
uniform in value as the metals themselves. And I shall be able to 
prove that it is within the Constitutional powers of Congress to issue 
that paper in the management of its finances according to the most 
rigid rule of construing the Constitution." 

Andrew Jackson is referred to ; and the gentleman in his former 
speeches wondered that his ghost did n't rise to denounce the Demo- 
cratic party of to-day, fighting for money issued by the General Gov- 
ernment against bank money. What-does he say ? " The corporations 
whkjh create paper money can not be relied upon to keep the circulating 
medium uniform in amount. The paper money such banks issue, and 
its natural associates — monopoly and class privileges — have already 
struck their roots deep in the soil, and it will require all your efforts to 
choke its further growth and to eradicate the evil." 

When Jefferson, Calhoun, and Jackson talked thus, they were en- 
gaged in the fight the Democracy of Ohio are to-day engaged in 
— a fight to wrest from private corporations the power to^ furnish the 
money of domestic business. The money power was too strong before 
the war for either Jefferson, or Jackson, or Calhoun, to wrest the con- 
trol of the circulating medium from it. But when the war came on, 
when the Government had no gold or silver to pay its troops, it was 
forced by dire necessity to itself issue legal tender paper money — ^to 
take into the hands of the people, as Jefferson, Calhoun,* and Jackson, 
claimed they should, the power to furnish all the 'money, whether it 
were gold, silver, or paper. This was done under the exigencies 
of war. But two years after the first issue of legal tenders, the 
money power got back the privilege of furnishing about one-half the 
paper money. And the war had hardly ended before it set its appli- 
ances and all the acuteness of its high intelligence at work to wrest 
from the people's Government the powd^ to furnish any share of the 
paper money, and put the whole privilege back where it was before the 
war — in the hands of private corporations. 

Look at the successive steps toward this end. From 1865 till the 
passage of the resumption law in 1875, every measure of the gen- 
eral Government affecting the money question has looked to that one 
end of the destruction of the money furnished by the Government. 
The power then exerted was vastly greater than that which thwarted 
Thomas Jefferson in 1813, and the Democratic party in the decade 



96 Debate at Tiffin. 

from 1830 to 1840. We had before the war a money power that was 
comparatively insignificant. The old United States Bank, which the 
Democrats fought so vehemently, had a capital of about $30,000,000, 
while our national banks have a capital in the aggregate of about 
$500,000,000. The vast expenditures of the war, and the creation of 
public and private debts resulted in accumulating in a few hands in 
the North a wealth twice /as great as the whole value of all the slaves 
in the Southern States. Its holders are a money aristocracy, living 
chiefly in that little section along the Atlantic sea-board, of which New 
York City is the center — and their time has been largely given to con- 
triving, dictating, and carrying out through their instruments, the 
leaders of the Kepublican party, measures for increasing as far as pos- 
sible the public and private burdens, and doubling the power that 
holds these debts. 

They started first, having in view the ultimate destruction of the 
greenbacks, by sweeping out $1,200,000,000 of the public debt in the 
form of interest-bearing Treasury notes, the interest and the principal 
of which were payable in greenbacks. They wanted no use for the 
greenbacks. Two-thirds or three-fourths of our debt was then in the 
form of interest-bearing Treasury notes. They were held among the 
people. They were here in your county, circulating in business, and 
all over the States, wherever a soldier came back with mon^y in his 
pocket ; wherever produce or horses were sold to carry on the war ; 
wherever supplies were bought or volunteers raised. That paper 
money bearing interest was, you may say, the public debt in 1866— 
easily borne, for it was a currency debt held by the people, who paid 
taxes to the General Government and received back as interest the 
money they paid. My friend, last evening, said this debt all bore 
interest at seven and three-tenths per cent, per annum. He is 
mistaken ; a large part of it bore seven and three-tenths, but another 
large part bore but three per ceilt. interest in currency. I can tell the 
gentleman further that that part bearing only three per cent, interest 
was the last of this debt that the people surrendered. It staid out and 
was never voluntarily presented for redemption, although payable on 
demand — the people were satisfied with the three per cent, interest — 
until in 1872, when his 'paity wanted to increase the national bank 
circulation, they peremptorily called in those Treasury notes, bearing 
this merely nominal rate of interest payable in currency, and funded 
them in ^ye per cent, gold bonds. 

Well, with a view to the ultimate destruction of the greenback, and 
the ultimate restoration of the power to issue all the paper money to 

Emng*s Reply, 97 

private corporations, this money power, through the Republican party, 
funded that $1,200,000,000 of interest-bearing Treasury notes in six 
per cent, gold bonds — the five-twenties. Those bonds, although they 
bore gold interest, were by the terms of the contract redeemable after 
five years iii greenbacks. But while this right of redemption in green- 
backs existed, there would remain a reason for keeping the greenbacks 
in existence : therefore the next step was to make them payable, not in 
greenbacks worth but seventy-one cents in gold, but in gold itself — in 
violation of the contract, and to the robbery of the people to the ex- 
tent of thirty per cent, on $1,600,000,000 of the debt. [Applause.] 

Did they tell you they were going to do that? Not a bit of it. 
They came before you in 1868, after the greenback canvass made by 
George Pendleton in 1867, and said in the Ohio Republican State 
Platform, which I hold now in my hand, that those bonds should be 
paid in legal tenders. So in Indiana they went before the people with 
the declaration of their Republican State Platform that they should 
be paid in legal tenders. John Sherman, the representative of the 
Republican party on this question, issued a campaign letter frankly 
saying that those bonds were by the terms of the contract — and he 
made the contract — payable in greenbacks; and that any bond-holder 
who demanded gold for his bonds was ** a repudiator and an extor- 
tioner." [Cheers.] Mr. Morton, in a speech which I have here, de- 
clared it would be robbery of the people to pay those bonds in gold. 
And Thad Stevens, trembling on the verge of the grave, in 1868, 
when the suggestion was made in the House of Representatives that 
those bonds might be paid in gold, marched up to the Clerk's desk, and 
facing his Republican associates, said: "If you dare to violate the 
contract by which the people of this country have the right to dis- 
charge those bonds in greenbacks, I will vote for Seymour and Blair 
for President and Vice-President." [Applause.] 

But no sooner had the Republican party elected General Grant on 
these declarations, than, for the purpose of accomplishing the ultimate 
destruction of the greenback, and turning over to these pet corpora- 
tions the whole control of the money of commerce, Mr. Sherman 
himself reported ft-om the Senate Finance Committee, a resolution en- 
titled "An Act to strengthen the public credit," declaring that those 
bonds should be payable in gold ; sfnd Grant signed it, in violation of 
the plighted faith of his party to the Western people. Greenback.3 at 
that time were worth about seventy-one cents on the dollar in gold. 
The day was within a month or two of arriving when the great bulk 
of those five-twenty bonds might have been paid in greenbacks — when 

98 Debate at Tiffin, 

the General Government might have done as my noble father pro- 
posed to the Senate Finance Committee, in a letter extensively pub- 
lished at that fime — might have said to the bond-holders: ** Gentlemen, 
these bonds are payable in greenbacks. • You may take greenbacks now 
for them, or four per cent, gold bonds, just which you please." There 
was the opportunity to fund the public debt in four per cent, gold 
bonds, or to pay a large part of it in the greenback money. But the 
Republican party did not want the greenback money afloat, and did 
want that this vast public debt, held by that money power which was its 
main stay, should be increased in value as far as possible, regardless of 
faith to the people and the interests of the people. [Applause.] So the 
$1,200,000,000 of interest-bearing Treasury notes payable in currency, 
the $1,600,000,000 of five-twenty bonds payable in currency, were 
wiped out ;^ and there was no longer, on account of them, a reason for 
continuing the greenback' in existence. 

What was the next step ? It was the enactment of this specie re- 
sumption law, which the gentleman who preceded me has touched so 
daintily — ^a law that involves the immediate destruction of ^11 the 
fractional money, and within two months after the first of January, 
1879, the utter wiping out* of the whole of the greenback money— 
a law which accomplishes the final step toward wresting , from the 
Government the power to furnish any paper money — ^a law that ac- 
complishes that deep-laid policy of the money power, to take back 
into their hands the control of the money of business, which the emer- 
gencies of war alone were potent to wrest from them. 

The gentleman says that good faith requires the restoration of 
specie payment as quick as it can be done without a shock to busi- 
ness, and therefore requires the execution of this specie resumption 
law, if U 18 a good law ; if it is not a good law, they will have 
it fixed so it will be good. He slightly crawfishes from the position 
he took in reply to my interrogatories at Wilmington. I put the 
question to him there: "Who passed this resumption law?" He an- 
swered, "The Republican party." "Is the Republican party of the 
United States in favor of its execution ? " He answered, " They 
are ; " and in the same debate he admitted that the object of the 
specie resumption law and the purpose of the party was to wrest 
from the Government the power tb issue paper money and turn it 
over to the national banks. He need not go back on that now. His 
views were well defined, and I expect to hold him to them, and to 
discuss those propositions here to-day. [Applause.] 

I have no doubt, since the debate at Wilmington, there have been 

Eiiitig's Reply, 99 

warning voices to the gentleman, that it will not^ do to talk out 
plainly on this law. The Republican leaders know it perfectly well. 
Not a man who has appeared on the stump in this canvass, on the 
Republican side, except the gentleman from New York, and he only 
w^hen pinned down to it by direct interrogatories, has dared to discuss 
this law before the t>eople. It was gotten up in a secret congres- 
sional caucus. The wrangles between the men who professed to rep- 
resent the Republican party — of Morton, Ferry, Logan and others, 
on the one side, and the specie resumptionists, regardless of the in- 
terests of the people, on the other — were all enacted in a midnight 
caucus in Washington; and not one word respecting those differ- 
ences was ever suffered to go out to the people. It was reported 
in effect from that caucus to the Senate — going as a matter of mere 
form through the Finance Committee. This law, affecting as it does 
more than any act ever passed by Congress the interests and busi- 
ness of the American people, was reported by Senator Sherman ; 
and when asked as tp the effect of its several provisions, he stood 
as dumb as an oyster. He did n't dare to tell what its effect 
would be. The Democratic Senators said to him, " Does this 
involve the destruction of all the greenback money?" Said he, 
** Look at the law and judge for yourself." He who represents your 
business — for you are the principals, he is the agent — when asked 
whether he intended by that bill to destroy the free money that you 
now have, declined to tell. So did Morton. S(> did Ferry. They 
never intended that a word of debate as to the meaning of this law^ 
should go before the people, for then the people's attention would be 
directed to it, and they would begin to discuss it themselves. They 
put it through the Senate, without explanation, by a strict party vote, 
every Democrat voting against it ; and when it went to the House 
they clapped on the gag of the previous question, and choked it 
through without a word of debate. And^ now Messrs. Sherman and 
Morton and other Republican leaders come before the people of Ohio, 
and when challenged, as they have been in the beginning of this can- 
vass, to discuss the effect of this law before the people, not one of 
them dares say a word on the subject. They know that the Amer- 
ican people, if they understood the effect and purpose of that law, 
would hurl the Republican party from power and bury it beyond res- 
urrection. [Applause.] But, like the cuttle-fish which, when pur- 
sued, emits a milky fluid that discolors th^ water and thereby facil- 
itates its escape, they get up a contemptible and false clamor about 
the public schools and the old spirit of rebellion, and thus blind their 

100 Debat^e at Tlffm. 

constituents, instead of coming before them and manfully discussing 
this most important measure. 

In the first place, this law involves the destruction of the whole 
fractional money. The Secretary of the Treasury is required, as soon 
as practicable, to raise money and buy up all the fractional currency 
now held by the people. Forty-four million dollars were outstanding 
when the law was passed. He has already bought $12,000,000 of 
silv^. He is running the mints night and day coining silver to sub- 
stitute for fractional money. How does he get the silver ? He has 
no surplus revenue. He had last year nothing ; this year but a few 
millions of dollars extra, not exceeding thirteen or fourteen millions. 
He is compelled, as soon as practicable, to buy and coin the silver 
with which to buy and destroy the fractional currency. That he does 
not rely upon revenue is perfectly plain. He has taken already 
$12,000,000 of new five per cent, bonds, which the law authorizes 
him to issue, and sold them in Europe, and with the proceeds bought 
the cast-off silver of the German nation — the sweaty old coin, as 
I described it yesterday. The gentleman, in reply, burst out in an 
eloquent speech to the efi*ect that that sweaty old coin could be put 
through the fire and would come out bright and pure ; whereas the 
sweaty greenback might be put in the fire and would be entirely 
consumed. True — but if the sweaty greenback were put into the fire 
and consumed, you could get another from the treasury in its place. 
Besides, what under heavens should the people want to put their money 
in the fire for ? [Laughter and applause.] 

What is to become of this silver money with which your fractional 
currency is to be taken up? Will you get any of it? Not a 
dime. Why ? Because silver is to-day at eight per cent, premium 
over legal tender notes, national bank notes, and fractional currency. 
There has not been an hour since the resumption law passed when 
silver did not command five per cent, premium. The gentleman 
says when gold is ten per cent, premium, silver will be par. He 
is mistaken. Gold was ten per cent, when this resumption law 
passed ; and silver was then but little under five per cent, pre- 
mium. Gold then rose almost immediately to seventeen per cent. 
What put it up ? He says the Ohio platform and this discussion. 
You unruly people of Ohio will talk about currency, and when you 
do, the bond-holders and gold-holders get mad and run up the gold. 
[Applause.] You ought' to shut up and take what is proposed by 
the Kepublican party ; because if you don't, these gold-holders will put 
up the premium and you will suflTer for it. Therefore, the best way 

Euuing's Beply, 101 

is just to bow your neck and take the yoke. [Laughter.] Don't go 
to questioning about it, or saying what you think, because- you are 
wholly unfit to determine these questions. He says if the people de- 
termine the question of the volume of currency, there is bound to be 
repudiation. In other words, 3^ou are fit to make laws respecting all 
questions of persons and property; you ape fit to make laws regulating 
the relation of husband to wife, parent to child, and guardian to ward 
^-— laws determining all questions of commerce between man and man, 
and of descent of property — in short, all questions of interest to man- 
kind which lie within the scope of civil government — except, (mly, this 
money question. But if you undertake to determine that question ; if 
you undertake to keep the control of the paper money, which is the 
only money used by the people in the hands of your own government, 
you are bound to rush on to repudiation. That is the idea of the 
gentleman, if I understand it. 

He says, no nation ever issued legal tender paper money in time of 
peace without repudiation. Well, I do not think his reading of history 
has gone back far. In the 13th century Venice was mistress of the 
seas — the queen of commerce. Her business men were annoyed by 
the miserable coins of the nations they dealt with and of their own re- 
public ; and for the purpose of relieving them, the Venetian Govern- 
ment established the bank of Venice and issued through it irredeem- 
able legal tender notes, on which the Venetian Bepuhlic paid a small in- 
t-erest, and those notes were above the par of this wonderful product — 
gold — for centuries. These irredeemable notes of Venice remained a 
legal tender for over five hundred years and until Napoleon invaded the 
Republic and overthrew it. It was a Government legal tender paper 
money not redeemable in gold — the first issue of paper money known 
in the commerce of the world — a monument to the wisdom of retain- 
ing in the control of government the money of the people. Russia 
issued dssignats in time of peace — irredeemable legal tender paper 
money — which were at a premium over gold for forty or fifty years. 
And now, at this very hour, when he talks so glibly about the absurd- 
ity of legal tender paper money issued by the Government, the fore- 
most statesmen of England are proposing to relieve the people of Great 
I5ritain of the burden of their national debt to the extent of the volume 
of currency needed, by the Government assuming to itself the exclu- 
sive privilege of issuing paper money, and that, too, never redeemable. 
I have in my hand a debate in the House of Commons, taken from the 
liOndon Times of a recent date, which I will read : 

102 Debate at Tiffin. 


Mr. Goshen, in his remarks on his motion for the second reading of 
the bill, said : Scotch bankers said let us have free trade in banking 
in Scotland, and let English bankers coipe and issue notes. But it 
was for the Government to decide, as a question of policy, whether 
such a course would be advisable, and he thought that if that question 
was raised it would be decided in the negative, and that no body of 
monopolists or bankers should issue notes without the State claiming 
its portion of the profits. 

Mr. Cave, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said he could easily un- 
derstand free trade in banking, but free trade in issue was quite a dif- 
ferent thing. [Hear, hear.] And no one could doubt that the paper 
issue of a country, like its currency, ought to be in the hands of the 
Government. No one could read the debates on the act of 1844, and 
doubt that that was the opinion of Sir Robert Peel, and that if he had 
been able he would have cahsed effect to be given to it. 

In conclusioji, the Kiglit Honorable gentleman moved the following 
amendment: "That a select committee be appointed to consider and 
report upon the restriction imposed and privilege conferred by law on 
bankers authorized to make and issue notes in England, Scotland, and 
Ireland respectively." 

Mr. Gladstone. — "My Right Honorable friend, Mr. Playfair, has re- 
ferred with perfect accuracy to the declarations of Sir Robert Peel that 
he was in favor of entire freedom of trade in banking. I have the 
melancholy privilege of being the only person now in the House who 
belonged to the Cabinet of 1844, and who was, therefore, cognizant 
of the policy, and pretty accurately acquainted with the views of Sir 
Robert Peel in framing the act of 1844. * * * But Sir R 
Peel was not also of opinion that if it were the pleasure of Parliament 
to combine the business of banking, which is esseniiaUy and properly a 
free business, with iJie factitious and artificial privilege of issue, whidi has 
nothing whatever to do wiili banking , and which rests on grounds of its 
own, such continuation of privileges might not materially modify the 
principle of freedom in banking. Sir Robert Peel proceeded steadily 
upon the principle that where the law imposed restrictions upon banks 
in their business of banking, these restrictions should be maintained 
witli reference to anotJier principle, that the State was entitled to resume ul- 
timately into its own hands the entire business of issue, and iliat tJiat course 
should be taken upon the first favorable opportunity. This is a true state- 
ment of the case as regards the views of Sir Robert Peel, and I need 
not say that these views upon a question of currency must always have 
great weight and authority in this House. [Hear, hear.] The issues 
of the Bank of England and the issues of the private bankers are so 
closely related, that to inquire into the one is quite impossible without 
virtually — even if not nominally — extending the inquhies to the 

Swing's Beply, 103 

I think the bill, after this debate, must suggest to the mind of the 
House, whether it is not desirable, supposing a favorable opportunity 
to have arrived, that we should now at length, after a lapse of thirty 
' or thirty-one years since the last legislation on this subject, endeavor 
to deal with the question of issues. [Cheers.] / am one of those iv'.') 
firmly adhere to Uie policy of the act of 1844, and to the 'principle that the 
issue is the privilege and prerogative of the State. Nothing c&idd he more 
strictly accurate, and at tlie same time more felieitauSj than tlie expression of 
my Might Honorable friend [Mr. Goshen] when lie spoke of the issue banks 
as being subsidized by the State. They are so in tlie strictest sense, because 
they have in their own hands a power which, if exercised by the State, would 
be directly productive of considerable funds, available for the relief of the Ex- 
chequer, [IJear.] It would be exactly the same thing, so far as tJie money 
is concerned, to grant a legislative privilege to a person to pay over to him a 
considerable sum from tlie Consolidated Fund.*' [Hear, hear.] 

The Chancellor of the Exchequer said : 

** The Government accept^ in the fullest manner the principles of 
the legislation of 1844 and 1845, and it is with great satisfaction that 
I heard from the Right Honorable gentleman [Mr. Gladstone] — who 
speaks by additional authority on this subject as having known the 
mind of Sir Robert Peel, who was the author of that legislation — the 
most complete confirmation of what I have always understood to^ be 
the intention and meaning of that act, namply, to make a clear distinc- 
tion between the two great principles of currency and issue on the one 
hand, and banking on the other. [Hear ! hear !] The design was to 
put cfurrenjcy and issue on their proper boMS, and. to do so on the theory that tJie 
privilege of issue belongs to the State, and that the State exercises timt light 
of issue in such a manner as )nay promote the convenience and intered of 
the public. With regard to banking, on the other hand, there ought 
to be no unnecessary restrictions ; and the principle laid down was that 
the freer competition of the bankers among themselves was desirable 
in the interests of the public. But I alsa understand these were the 
principles that Sir Robert Peel laid down as the basis of his legislation ; 
but he found himself unable to carry them to their proper results. 
Being, therefore, unable to give entire and absolute effect to the prin- 
ciple that the right of issue belonged to the State, and being obliged 
to leave a portion of the privileges in the hands of the bankers, he 
placed certain restrictions upon the banking system." 

In reply to Dr. Play fair's [member for Edinburgh] objection to the 
amendment proposed by the Government : 

** The words of my reference are that the Select Committee shall con 
sider and' report upon *Hhe restrictions imposed and privileges conferred 
by law on bankers authorized to make and issue notes in England, 
Scotland, and Ireland respectively." That is as wide a* term as could 
be used, and it is as applicable to the Bank of England as to other 

Mr. Lowe [a leader of the Liberals and currency reformers] fol- 
lowed : 

"I am bound to say also that I think he [the Chancellor of the Ex- 

104 De&ate at Tiffin, 

chequer] deserves our thanks for the very distinct and explicit manner 
in which he has delivered his opinion on the merits of the question. 
He has left us in no doubt either as to his own opinion or as to that 
of Her Majesty^s Government. They are of opinion, as I understand^ 
that the issue of notes is a matter' which belongs properly to the sovereign 
power, the State, and that it otight to be placed exclusively in the hands of 
the State, ivhich means, as I take it, depriving, m s&ine way or other, oil 
hankers in England, Scotland^ and Ireland of the power of issuing note^, 
and vesting that power solely in the supreme authority.'' [Hear ! hear!] 

Mr. Gladstone says that nothing could be more accurate and at the 
same time more felicitous thait the expression that the issues of the 
English and Scotch banks are "subsidized by the State." Americans 
can with greater cause complain that the national banks are subsidized 
by the General Government by being allowed to usurp the power of 
furnishing the whole paper money of the country (under the policy of 
the Republican party and of this resumption law), while the people pay 
them for the usurpation a sum equal to five per cent, interest in currency 
over and above the tax which they pay for the issue. These national 
banks are now paid $18,000,000 as an annual subsidy for issuing of $350,- 
000,000 of paper money. [Applause.] We say, stop this wicked and 
wasteful subsidy, by issuing greenbacks in place of national bank notes. 
Go into the market and buy up the amount of bonds that the $350,000,- 
000 of new greenbacks will purchase — reduce the interest bearing debt 
that far, and save to the people this $18,000,000 annually. If the 
Republican party had done that in 1865, as it would have done if it 
had not been as putty in the hands of the money power, it would have 
already saved to the people of this country, principal and interest, in 
the neighborhood of $300,000,000. - If we were to do it to-day, that 
saving of $18,000,000, would pay off the whole of the principal of our 
public debt within twenty-five years — within the life-time of a majority 
of the men and women now hearing me. The English and Scotch banks 
(except the Bank of England) do not issue paper money on Government 
bonds — ^yet Gladstone says they are subsidized by the Government. 
Why? Because the Government might just as well issue the legal tender 
paper money, and with that money reduce their interest-bearing debt; 
and the failure to do this is properly declared by him in this debate to 
be in effect a subsidizing of the banks to the extent of the interest on 
the bank paper currency. Mr. Lowe, the leader of the Liberal party, 
and Mr. Playfair, concurred with Mr. Gladstone in that debate — repre- 
senting as they all do, a Government byiilt upon a great public 
debt. Do they understand it to be repudiation for the Govern m on 1 to 

Ewin^s Reply. 105 

take into its own hands the issuing of the paper currency of Great 
Britain ? Not at all. And why will it be repudiation here ? Why is 
it, unless it be that the people of this country are not fit for self-gov- 
ernment? That assumption is at the bottom of the argument of these 
men who are ciirrying on this war for the destruction of the greenback, 
and for putting the whole paper currency of this country into tlie 
Lands of the national banks. 

This specie resumption law further provides that the Secretary of 
the Treasury may issue five per cent, gold bonds for the purchase of 
gold, with which to redeem the §375,000,000 of greenbacks now out- 
standing. He is required by this law to be ready to redeem and pay 
off every greenback after the first of January, 1879. He can't trust 
any chances ; he must have the gold there in the Treasury on the first 
of January ; and his only way to get it is to issue §375,^000,000 of five 
per cent, gold bonds ; and with them buy the gold and bring it from 
Europe, so that every body who wants gold on and after that day has 
only to send greenbacks to the Treasury and get it. Every greenback 
after thut day is an order on the Treasury Department for so much 
gold ; and when a greenback has once been paid in gold, it never can 
be re-issued, for the law provides for only one redemption. It is a 
plan under which every dollar of this money that now costs the people 
nothing, whether it be fractional money or greenbacks, is to be utterly 

What will become of the gold ? The gentleman talks as if it were 
better for the people to have the gold than the greenback, and as if 
the people will get it. They will get no such thing. There will not be a 
dollar in ordinary business in the country. All that can be kept in 
this country at all, will be kept by the national banks as security for 
their circulation. The gentleman says that you can go to the national 
banks with national bank money after the first of January, 1879, and 
get the gold for it, and use the gold in your business. Well, now, let 
us see about that. The law regulating national banks provides that the 
banks after the first of January, 1879, must keep five per cent, of their 
bank notes in the United States Treasury in greenbacks or gold for re- 
demption of the notes outstanding. TKat is the only redemption agency, 
except the bank itself, wherever it may be located. You have a bank in 
this town — several of them. You want gold after the first of January, 
1879. You go to the bank and present a note of scmie other bank. You 
can't get the gold on it. You send it on to the Treasury, and may pos- 
sibly get the gold there. But there is to be only one-twentieth part of the 
notes of- each bank represented by gold or greenbacks in the hands of 

106 Debaie at Tiffin, 

the Secretary of the Treasury to redeem ^ith; and if you send the note to 
Washington after the first of January, 1879, you doubtless will find that 
the five per cent, deposited by the bank has already been drawn by some 
gentleman in Wall Street. [Applause.] But the gentleman will say, 
the Treasury Department can take the banks in hand and treat them 
severely for failing to keep up their five per cent. fund. Well, how do 
they take the banks in hand now ? This national bank law that I have 
here, forbids any bank to loan money at a greater rate of interest 
than is authorized in the State where the bank is located. Who is 
there in this town of Tiffin, who gets money from any national bank at 
the rate of interest authorized in Ohio ? Nobody. Nor any body in 
any other town in Ohio: That provision of the law is every-where and 
utterly disregarded, and although it enjoins every bank officer loaning 
money, under the solemnity of his oath as director or officer, not to exceed 
eight per cent, interest; yet as a matter of practice and common consent 
all the bank officers every-where utterly disregard the law. But if a mail 
sells liquor against the law, he is jerked up mighty quick. Has any 
body ever jerked up a national bank officer for violating the law about 
interest ? Oh ! no. This money power that owns the Republican party, 
controls also the administration of the law that relates to national banks. 
On and after the first of January, 1879, if you want this gold that the 
gentleman tells about, you will probably find that the bank whose bill 
you have is located in Arizona ; because banking is free and all the ' 
banking in this country may be done in Arizona or Alaska. All the 
banks of issue may move their head-quarters there, and it would be 
' inconvenient for the people to go to them to get gold for their bank 

It is utter nonsense to talk about gold and silver as the common cur- 
rency of this country. We did n't have it before the war, when we had 
twice the volume of gold and silver in the country that we have to-day, 
and when we had not half the business we have to-day. The difierence 
between the amount of gold and silver in this country in 1860 com- 
pared with the amount to-day, taking business into view, is as about 
four dollars in 1860 to one dollar to-day. And why? It is because 
we are a debtor nation. We owe $150,000,000 every year to Europe 
as interest on Government, State, and railroad bonds. We do n't pay 
it all in gold, it is true. We pay it to some extent in products, and to a 
still larger extent in making new debts. Every time a railroad com- 
pany negotiates its bonds abroad the proceeds practically go toward 
paying the interest we owe that year to Europe on the bonds they al- 
ready hold. But after deducting the payment by other products, and 

Emilys Rephj, 107 

by making new debts, we still sliip abroad every year on an average 
$50,000,000 of gold. Our product of gold la^t year was about ^36,000,- 
000, and the year before, the same. It was greater in former years ; 
but for the past two years the whole pioduct of gold has fallen 
$14,000,000^ short of the actual amount sent abroad. And since the 
passage of the resumption law our condition is growmg worse — for in 
the first six months of this year we have shipped more gold to Europe 
than we did the whole of last year. 

Kow there is the established drain, arising from the fact that we owe 
Europe $150,000,000 of gold annually. lAj friend Woodford says 
that we drain the gold out of the country by using paper money, ^^ot 
exactly. We owe it abroad, and must send it. Hence I assert Ave can 
not maintain one-fourth of our present volume of paper currency actu- 
ally redeemable in gold, after the first of January, 1879. If the 
banks maintain a bigger circulation than that, they will do it by such 
fraudulent subterfuges as I have described— by locating their banks at 
remote and inaccessible points where the people can not get at them to 
present the notes, or by the Treasury Department simply saying, when 
notes are presented, that the banks have not got the fiya per cent, de- 
posit. Certain it is that under this resumption law all of our frac- 
tional currency, all of our greenback currency, every dollar of them, 
are to be wiped out, and the banks understand that whether they can 
maintain all their own circulation or not, they can't substitute bank 
money in the place of the greenbacks and fractional currency to be de- 
stroyed. In fact, the banks have already taken the warning that the 
first day of January, 1879 is the day for resumption, and have retired 
their circulation to the extent of $25,000,000 since that law was passed. 
And I now warn you^ fellow-pitizens, that if we are to have an honest 
redempticm of bank paper money after the first of January, 1879, you 
will see the currency of this country brought down from $750,000,000 
to certainly not exceeding $250,000,000. 

Can the business of this country stand it? I ask you how we have 
stood the contraction of the currency heretofore made ? Tlie gentle- 
man endeavored to create the impression yesterday that there had been 
no contraction of legal tender money and bank money combined. I 
have here a table taken from the report of the Treasurer of the United 
States for the year 1874, page 45, in w^hich he gives the amount of 
currency outstanding at the close of each fiscal year, showing that 
while we had $699,000,000 of United States legal tender money, non- 
interest-bearing, on the thirtieth of June, 1865, we had but $390,- 
000,000 on the thirtieth of June, 1874. And adding the bank money 

108 Debate at Tljla, 

to the greenback, on the thirtieth of June, 1865, we had $910,000,000, 
and in 1874 but $740,000,000. In that nine years our population had 
grown, counting the Southern States, twenty-two per cent., while the 
currency had decreased eighteen per cent. — making an aggregate con- 
traction of about forty per cent, counting the business and volume 
of currency together in nine years. That contraction was a chief 
cause of the panic. 

The gentleman says the panic was brought on by a grand ** national 
drunk ; " that we went wild about speculation because there was an 
exorbitant amount of paper money. Well, one wiuld suppose we 
would have been wildest when we had most paper money ; and the 
crash would have come right then. If we had a graud national 
drunk we would have hacj the attack of delirium tremens when we 
had the most whisky in us. [Applause.] It was not so ; there was 
less personal indebtedness in 1865, '66, and '67 than there was after 
the currency had been contracted in 1871, 72, and '73. But as the 
currenc}'^ contracted, personal indebtedness gradually increased, and a 
vast mountain of credit was built up to carry on the business of the 
country, and take the place of the currency withdrawn. He talks 
about railroads — the Xorthern Pacific, and so on. Well, we had a 
good deal of wild railroad investment, it is true, but what caused it? 
The large amount of paper money ? Not at all. The big grants of 
land made to private corporations by the General Government caused 
the building of these railroads. [Applause.] The granting to Jay 
Cooke of an area of territory as large as Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois 
combined — the home and heritage of our children — given free to a 
railroad corporation as a stimulus to build a road in a region where it 
was not possible that it should have business within the generation of 
men who built it; grants of large amoimts of the public lands to 
railroad corpoi-ations in Kansas and Nebraska, and to the Texas Pa- 
cific — that is what caused the investment of capital wildly in the 
construction of railroads in the "^Vest. This unwise investment of 
money in railroads was not confined to the West, but extended also to 
the South, where, after the war; people had a right to suppose that the 
party which had conducted the war for the restoration of the Union 
would say to the South, when it was ended and they accepted the sit- 
uation, ** Arise, and govern yourselves as free States of this Republic." 
But the administration did not do that ; it had other business in hand ; 
it wanted to throttle the South and republipanize it through the influ- 
ence of a horde of Northern scoundrels who bore down on the South- 
ern people in their hour of prostration, to devour them as the jackal 

Ewing^s Reply, 109 

does the dead lioft. And so the Southern States were kept prostrate, 
Southern industries repressed, business stopped and paralyzed, and 
the Northern capitalists who sent money down to rebuild Southern 
railroads, found they could do no business, for industry was destroyed. 
It was those railroad investments that were the most immediate cause 
of the panic of 1873. The failure, first, of Jay Cooke & Co., then of 
Henry Clews & Co., alarmed money lenders, and broke down and 
overthrew that credit system with which the business of the country 
was being done, after the reduction of the currency. 

Now, fellow-citizens, I ask you how the business of the country is 
going to stand the addition of $419,000,000 to the bonded debt, which 
means an addition of $22,000,000 to the annual taxes borne by the 
people ? The business has got to suffer this vast additional taxation, 
and at the same time suffer a contraction of the currency, equal to 
about sixty per cent, of the present volume. It can not stand it. 
The mere threat of this large further contraction of the currency has 
already, in the language of the Democratic platform, brought disaster 
to the business of the country, and threatens it with general bank- 
ruptcy and ruin. All over this land we sise the effects of it — failures 
on every side, business stopped, all kinds of productive industries 
paralyzed ; a million of men already wholly out of employment, and 
two or three millions more having only half work, and that in many 
instances only on half pay. K this is done in the green tree, what 
may you expect in t^e dry? If this is done in anticipation, what 
may you expect when the law has borne its fruit? 

The gentleman talks about the superior character of gold money ; 
and says the holders will get seventeen per cent, more after the first of 
January, 1879, on this volume of paper money. Yes — but the people 
don't hold it. It is being hoarded by capitalists already, until now 
there is locked up from circulation more than half of the green- 
backs — held to pocket the rise of seventeen per cent.; held too, 
because they know that business can not survive the contraction of the 
currency involved in the execution of that law ; because they know 
th^t nine business men out of ten will go down to ruin and bank- 
ruptcy, and therefore they fear to trust v the manufacturer, the mer- 
chant, and the ordinary business man, because with this contraction 
of the currency, and with all values shrinking, with aU men who do 
business doing it on a fallen market ; with men failing here and there, 
and by their failures dragging down others, until the ruin ^spreads to 
all classes and conditions of business men ; they know that no money 
Iq safe lent out to take the chances which money takes in ordinarily 

110 Debate at Tiffin. 

prosperous times. They, therefore hold it — hold it while lands go down 
in value, while labor goes down in price, while every product of labor 
falls, because while every thing ehe falls, the purchasing power of 
this hoarded money increases. Therefore they hoard it, and wait to 
take advantage, not of the business of ordinarily prosperous times, 
but of forced sales when the flag of the sheriff shall wave over 
the wrecked fortunes of the business men of the laud. Then the 
money will come out, and these now hoarded dollars will not only be 
worth seventeen per cent, more than now, but every one of them 
wall buy twice or three times the property it would have bought but 
for the enormous reduction of the currency involved in the execution 
of this law. [Applause.] 

We have an illustration in the history of England of the effect of 
the contraction involved in the forced resumption of specie payment. 
England resumed in 1819 when bank paper was at but three per cent, 
discount, and when E-icardo, who led the bullionists, said to the people 
of the country, " Why, it only adds three per cent, to the debts of the 
debtors ; that is all, it adds just the premium on gold." But what was 
the effect of it ? The effect was to compel the banks to take in forty- 
five per cent, of their paper currency to get ready for resumption ; and 
to shrink all lands and labor, and products of labor, to the full ratio of 
the shrinkage of the paper currency. You can see the account of it in 
Alison's History of Efuro'pe, second series, in which, aristocrat as he 
was, he denounces, with philanthropic indignation, that infamous law 
that broke down all the industries and pauperized the labor of Great 
Britain. Under the execution of that law, every man almost, who 
was in debt, was beggared. Farmers who had owed little debts on 
their farms, regarded in ordinary times as petty incumbrances, saw 
their lands swept off to pay them. We will see the same thing here. 
You have seen it to a large extent. What will ordinary real estate sell 
for to-day, in this State? Not two-thirds of its value two years ago. 
I would rather, to-day, take the chance of the pea-nut peddler on 
the streets of this town, who is out of debt, than of the holder of a 
twenty thousand dollar farm who owes five thousand dollars on it. 

It only adds seventeen peF cent., says Mr. Sherman, to the burden 
of the debtors'. What is the aggregate of the currency debts of this 
country ? Take the currency d^bts of States, counties, townships, cities, 
towns, and individuals, and the aggregate is at least, $8,000,000,000. 
Add seventeen per cent, to that and you require the debtors to pay, in 
three years, $1,360,000,000 more than- they contracted to pay. When 


Ewing's ^Eeply. Ill 

they made their contracts they made them in currency ; they got legal 
tenders, or their equivalent, and they expected to pay legal tenders or 
their equivalent ; but this devilish device of the money power, under 
the form of law, and sugar-coated with specious talk of a return to 
honest money, adds $1,360,000,000 to this present currency debt 
besides adding $419,000,000 to the public debt of the United States. 
I say it is an act of wanton, flagrant, gigantic robbery of the people. 

The gentleman has a great deal to say about the gold dollar and 
the greenback dollar, and he seemed disposed to turn our politi- 
cal meetings into a sort of kindergarten, where the children are 
taught by showing up the thing talked of so they can understand it. 
Now, people here understand what a gold five-dollar piece is and what 
a greenback five dollar bill is. He says that the gold is steady, always 
the same, never changes; it is the^ greenback that is changing. That 
is wholly erroneous. Gold fell from 227 to 141 in the first months of 
1865. Now, if gold was the measure of your values, your property 
fell thirty-five per cent, in that three months. If your property had 
fallen that amount, it would have ruined many of you. Did it fall ? 
No, it did not ; there is not one man in fifty that knows what the price 
of gold is to-day, or what it was yesterday, or the day before, or cares. 
There is not one value in fifty that is affected by the price of gold to-day 
and its fluctuations. It does affect imports and exports, which comprise 
about one-thirtieth part of the exchanges of the country; but the 
general business is unaffected, for the standard of value is the green- 
back and not the gold, that being the money of business. Gold is now 
merely a commodity, which rises an4 falls with the demand for it at 
home or abroad. Europe carried off $55,000,000 of our gold in the 
first six months of this year, and that in part put up the price from 110 
to 117. Just at the time that these Republicans were promising gold 
payment, the greenback was falling, according to the idea of the gentle- 
man ! Your values did not shrink thirty-five per cent, in the first three 
months of 1865, by reason of the fall in the value of gold. In August, 
1869, and again in February, 1870, there was a change of twelve per cent. 
in the price of gold, which did not affect the general business of the 
country ; there was not any change in values generally. Gold is not 
the measure of our values ; and it is not the same in value to-day as it 
vvras yesterday, or a year ago. The gentleman has exhibited, in some 
of these debates, a coin of the Dutch Republic of three hundred years 
ago, and says it is of the same value now that it was at the time it was 
issued. Well, now, some years before that was issued the price of labor 


112 Deftofe dt Tiffin, 

in England was fixed by act of Parliament at a penny a day, and his 
dollar would have then bought the labor of fifty men for a day. To-day 
it buys the labor of one man for one day. Has it not changed in pur- 
chasing power — in value? It is constantly changing, and is in actual 
exchangeable value one of the most fluctuating products of the earth. 
When it is the only legal tender there is nothing to measure its 
changes by, but when we have the other legal tender — which I main- 
tain is the more stable currency, if not arbitrarily changed in volume — 
it marks the changes of that product, gold, which is now a mere com- 
modity, just as it marks the fluctuations of wheat, com, And rye. 

This tinsel talk of my friend from New York is effective only to hide 
from the people the flagrant robbery that is involved in the execution 
of the resumption law. An eminent British dissenter was once called 
before a council of Bishops of the Church of England. They said to 
him: ** Why do you fight the established church? Why are you 
going about among the people preaching heresy and schism?" He 
walked up to their table in his homely garb, and, with a voice hoarse 
from out-door preaching, asked if they had a sovereign in their 
pockets. One of them handed him a sovereign. He asked for a Bible ; 
they handed him one. He took the sovereign and put it over the 
name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. " Do you see the words 
under that?" No, they didh't see them. He took away the gold, and 
then they saw the name of Jesus. [Applause.] The reason my friend 
from New York can not see the perishing industries of this country, 
nor sympathize with the masses on whose shoulders rests this mount- 
ain of currency debt, nor see the ruin awaiting all men who are in 
debt, and nearly all who are in business, under this policy of contrac- 
tion, is the over-mastering influence of that money power which is 
symbolized by his glittering piece of gold. [Applause.] 

\_Tme eaypired.l 


Now, gentlemen, I have but thirty minutes, so I must talk rapidly, 
and I want you to follow very closely. 

My friend began with Thomas Jefferson, and quoted his utterances 

Woodford^ s Rejoinder. 113 

in favor of a national issue of paper money. The date of the letter, 
from which he quoted, was the 11th of September, 1813. At that 
hour we were in the midst of war with England. The Treaty of 
Ghent was not made until December 14th, of that year, and was not 
proclaimed in the United States until 15th February, 1814. Jefferson 
then, in time of war, asked that the Government should have the right 
to issue paper money, precisely as the Republican party in time of war 
issued the greenback. No more, no l«es. [Applause.] 

A few weeks before that, on the 13th of June, the same Thomas 
Jefferson, writing to the same person, used these words : '* It is a wiso 
rule, and should be fundamental in a government disposed to cherish 
its credit, and desiring to restrain the use of it within the limits of its 
faculties, never to borrow a dollar without levying a tax the same in- 
stant for paying the interest annually, and the principal within a given 
term, and to consider that tax as pledged to the creditors of the public 
faith.'' [Applause.] 

And on the 6th of November, 1 813, two months later than the letter 

from which the gentleman cpiotes, Thomas Jefferson writes to the same 

person: "The sum of what has been said is that, pretermitting the 

constitutional question of the authority of Congress to consider this 

obligation, on the grounds of reason alone it would be best that our 

medium should be so proportioned to our purchases as to be on a par 

with that of the governments with which we trade, and whose niedium 

is in a sound state ; that specie is the most perfect medium, because it 

will preserve its own level, because, having an intrinsic and universal 

value, it can never die in our handrJ, and it is the surest resource and 

reliance in time of war." [Applause.] 

•Hold on. We have some more of Thomas Jefferson, the founder of 
the Democracy [Applause.] : " That the trifling economy of paper as 
a cheaper medium, or its convenience for transmi^ion, weighs nothing 
in opposition to the advantages of the precious metals ; that it is liable 
to be abused, has been and forever will be abused in every country in 
which it is permitted." 

Some more qf Thomas Jefferson : " Instead, then, of listening to the 
scarcity of medium set up by speculators, projectors, and commercial 
gamblers " — was n't the recent convention at Columbus well described ? 
[Laughter and cheers] — "no endeavor should be spared to begin the 
work of reducing it by such gradual means as may give time to 
private fortunes to preserve their poise and to settle down with the sub- 
siding medium.'' 

Why actually Thomas Jefferson advised you Democrats to unite 

114 Debate at Tiffin. 

with us Republicans in a specie resumption law that shall work slowly 
and give time to settle surely. 

Mr. Jefferson may now step down from the witness-stand. [Laugh- ' 

ter and cheers.] 

My friend next speaks of John C. Calhoun, and he quotes him cor- 
rectly. The words were uttered by Calhoun in a debate on the specie 
circular in 1836. In that debate another statesman also spoke, and 
liis name was Daniel Webster. And these were the words of Webster 
in that debate :>** Most unquestionably there is no legal tender, and 
there can be no legal tender in this country under the authority of 
this Government or any other, but gold and silver." 

I think Mr. Calhoun may step down also. [Applause.] If you 
want to measure the value of their opposing constitutional interpreta- 
tions, please remember that Mr. Calhoun also believed that this Gov- 
ernment was a Confederacy, a rope of sand; that' any State might dis- 
solve it at will. Please remember that the fruit of the argument 
which John C. Calhoun made upon secession w^as fully ripened in the 
bloody war that made this greenback. [Cheers.] Remember that the 
logic and the constitutional authority of Daniel Webster was the logic 
and the authority that heid the Union together. It was the logic by 
which our armies fought, by which our cannon thundered, and by 
which our Union stands to-day one and inseparable. [Cheers.] 

My friend calls to the stand as witness number three, Andrew Jack- 
son. [Laughter.] Now I leave it to my Democratic friends — and 
there are some sincere and honest ones here to-day — is it not the first 
time in all your lives that you ever heard Andrew Jackson called to 
the stand to demonstrate the constitutionality or advisability of paper 
money? [Applause.] 

Then my friend said — and I think that the Philistine has been de- 
livered into my hand, [laughter] — my friend said, and you remember 
the echo of his eloquent words, that gold fluctuated where it was meas- 
ured by a greenback currency that did not change in volume. 

But by the eighth section of the Democratic platform of Ohio they 
want a greenback currency that shall be made and kept equal to the 
demands of trade. It must then change in volume, shrinking in when 
there is too much, and expanding when there is too little, and yet your 
only possible measure of gold, according to the exact language of your 
champion, is a greenback currency that does not change in its volume. 
I lefiCve him and the Democratic platform to settle their disputes be- 
tween them. [Laughter and applause.] 

We can not issue more greenbacks without violating our pledged 

Woodford ^s Rejoimler. 115 


faith. In 1864 we passed a law right in the midst of the Rebellion 
that gave value to our paper circulation. That law is on the statute 
book to-day. That law pledges the faith of this nation that we never 
will print more than $400,000,000 of greenbacks. You can not print 
another dollar without tearing that law from the statute book. You 
must begin your issue by being guilty of breaking the faith on which 
the issue obtained its valuable circulation. 

He says that all our debts in 1875 amount to more than nine 
billions. How much is this? Nine thousand millions of dollars. 
More than three times the amount of our federal debt. Why are 
these debts so enormous ? 

After the Government had set the fashion of dealing in paper prom- 
ises, instead of money, every body who wanted to do business gave 
notes — ^gave promises. We rushed into the mad speculation that was 
engendered and born of irredeemable paper currency. It bore the 
fruit that it alw^ays bears, and here we are owing that debt to-day. 
And now we are asked to inaugurate a policy of inflation that, if car- 
ried out, would swell our debt into millions and billions. 

Do not forget this, it is easy to run into debt, it is hard, very hard, 
to pay your way out of it. A man may gamble and speculate into in- 
debtedness, but with sweating brow, and aching back, and straining 
eye, he must dig out of debt. And who at the last bears the burden ? 
Not the men with large fortunes, not the men with great accumula- 
tions; but always and inevitably the laboring poor. 

If the debt be increased, one of two things must ultimately happen. 
Either you repudiate that debt, and so never pay it, or you pay it, and 
so have to work it out. If it is h^rd now, Avhere is the reason, where 
the logic,- of piling that debt three times higher, so that your burdened 
children may have the added agony of paying and working it out. 
[Applause.] ' i 

The Government, from about 1865 to 1869, .retired $1,200,000,000 
of debt and funded it. The gentleman talks as though greenbacks 
were not a debt, although he claims that the bond is a debt. He talks 
as if when you issue a greenback you have paid so much debt. What 
is the difference between these two ? Let me explain it again. The 
bond is a debt that bears interest in gold. The greenback is a debt 
without interest. That is all. Some day the greenback must be paid 
or repudiated. Look at the greenback itself. [Showing one.] Let 
us have another short lesson in object teaching. You^seem to take 
to it very kindly, and I am very much obliged. The bill reads : 
" The United States will pay five dollars." Thus it is the pledge or 

116 Debate at Tiffin, 

promise of the United States to pay a debt. Is it simply a promise 
to pay another bill just like this one ? Let me repeat my old illus- 
tration. I owe you a note for $100. You come to me for payment. 
I sit down and write you another note for the same amount, and give 
it to you and add : ** I am a member of the inflation party in the 
State of Ohio, and I want you to consider yourself paid." [Laughter 
and applause.] When that second note falls due you come and say : 
"Now, friend Woodford, I wish to be paid." "Oh, certainly, sir; 
I have listened to the eloquent addresses of Democratic speakers, and 
I have this thing thoroughly in my head. I understand financial mat- 
ters entirely." I sit right down and get pen and paper, and with a 
flowing hand write you still another note, and hand it to you with 
these convincing words : " This is my private greenback. Paper is 
better than gold. The Ohio statesmen have demonstrated that to 
promise is to pay." 

The greenback note is simply a promise to pay the gold. Do I 
eiT? .When the Government pays its debt with coin, d6es it still 
carry that coin, which it has paid out, as a part of its debt ? No. 
It has paid its debt, and the coin which is in circulation is no longer 
a part of the debt of the Government. 

Let us see how these greenbacks are carried on the books of the 
Treasury. Here is the debt statement for the month of last August. 
[Showing it.] The first heading is "debt bearing interest in coin;" 
the next is, "debt on which interest has ceased since maturity;" 
the next is, "debt bearing no interest;" and then comes "legal 
tender notes," so much. After the Government has paid them out 
it still carries them as debt, because they are the unpaid notes of 
the Government. Some day they must be paid. The Government 
does not pay the debt when it gives them out. Do I err in this 
claim? Here is the very greenback itself; that sustains me. Here 
is the debt statement ; that sustains me. 

Let me go one step further. This question has been before the 
United States Supreme Court. Hear what the late chief justice, ex- 
Governor Chase, of Ohio, said in rendering the decision in the case 
of the Bank vs. the Supervisors, in 7 Wallace, page 29 : 

" Every one of them [referring to th^e Treasury notes] expresses 
upon its face an engagement of the nation to pay the bearer a cer- 
tain sum. The dollar note is an ^engagement to pay a dollar, and the 
dollar intended is the coined dollar of the United States, a certain 
quantity in weight and fineness of gold or silver, authenticated as such 
by the stamp of the Government." 

Woodforc^a Bejainder. 117 

Then some day these greenbacks must be paid in coined gold or 
silver dollars. 

When we funded $1,200,000,000 we, simply did what ? We simply 
p^t so much of the debt in the way of payment. We took up so 
many notes, the great majority of them bearing seven and three- tentlis 
per cent, interest in currency. If gold was then worth $1.20, and 
we had funded these sevon-thirties in gold six per cent?, we should 
have saved one-tenth of one per ceut. on every dollar. For $6 in 
gold, at that rate, equalled $7.20 in currency, and the seven -thirties 
bore seven and three-tenths per cent., or $7.30 in currency interest, 
on each one hundred dollars. So we would have saved one-tenth of 
one per cent, in the interest on the transaction if we Ixad funded them 
in six per cents. But these seven-thirties were mostly funded in ten- 
forties at five per cent, in gold. With gold at $1.20, $5 in gold rep- 
resents $6 in currency. As the seven-thirties bore seven and three- 
ten^ths per cent, iji currency, and five dollars in gold just equalled 
six dollars in currency, we saved, by the funding, $1.30 of currency 
interest on every hundred dollars. And that, my friend thinks, was 
bad financiering. [Applause.] 

Then my friend attacks the law for redemption of United States 
bonds, passed in March, 1869. Suppose we read this law of 1869, 
on which so much unkind comment has been made during this de- 
bate. Now listen and see whom this redemption law was intended 
to protect. I want every man, I care not what his party, to listen 
to this law as I read it : 

ACT OF 1869, CHAPTER 1. 


Se it enacted by the Senate aiid House of Representatives of the United 
States of America in Congress asseinbled, That in order to remove any 
doubt as to the purpose of the Government to discharge all just ob- 
ligations to the public creditors, and to settle conflicting questions and 
interpretations of the laws by virtue of which such obligations have 
been contracted, it is hereby provided and declared that the fe-ith of 
the United States is solemnly pledged to the payment in coin or its 
equivalent of all the obligations of the United States not bearing in- 
terest, known as United States notes, and of all the interest-bearing 
obligations of the United States, except in cases where the law au- 
thorizing the issue of any such obligation has expressly provided that 
the same may be paid in lawful money or other currency than gold 
and silver. But none of said interest-bearing obligations not already 
due shall be redeemed or paid before maturity unless at such time 

118 Debate at TiMn. 

United States notes shall be convertible into coin at the option of 
the holder, or unless at such time bonds of the United States bear- 
ing a lower rate of interest than the bonds to be redeemed can be 
sold at par in coin. 

And the United States also solemnly pledges its faith to make pro- 
vision at the earliest practicable period for the redemption of the 
United States notes in coin. 

J. G. Blaine, 

Speaker of the House of Representatives, 

Schuyler Colfax, 
Vice-President of the United States and President of the Senate. 

Approved March 18, 1869. 
U. S. Grant. 

And then my friend told you what I said about this law in the 
Wilmington Debate. My friend's memory is good ; the accuracy of 
the stenographer is better. Let me read just what I said, and then 
let me stand or fall by the record. The first question the gentleman 
asked me was: " Is the Republican party of the United States in favor 
of the execution of the specie resumption Idw?" On the 10th of 
July, 1872, the National Democratic party, gathered in convention at 
Baltimore, resolved as follows: ''That the public credit must be sa- 
credly maintained, and w-e denounce repudiation in every form and 
guise, and a speedy return to specie payments is demanded alike by 
the highest considerations of commercial morality and honest govern- 
ment. I presume that the Republican party of to-day, like the Na- 
tional Democratic party of 1872, is in favor of an honest and earnest 
effort to execute the specie resumption law." 

Is it my fault that the Democratic party have changed since 1872? 
My dear Democratic brother, if there is any thing that I pity, it is the 
Aveariness with which you try to keep your seat in the Democratic 
saddle. In 1864 you resolved the war a failure, and in 1868 you 
congratulated the nation that it had proved a success. [Applause.] 
In 1868 you demanded the payment of the bonded debt in greenbacks, 
and in 1872 you demanded a return to specie payment at the earliest 
practicable moment. [Applause and laughter.] Now in 1875 you 
have gone back to the platform of 1868. I would not call hard names 
for the world [laughter,] but Avhaf a difficult time you must have in 
changing your convictions every year to meet the changing require- 
ments of the gospel in the Democratic platform. [Laughter and 

Woodford's Rejoinder, 119 

And then my friend blames Senator Sherman because, when asked 
with regard to the meaning of the resumption law of 1875, Sherman 
simply replied : '* Look at the law and judge for yourself." I hardly 
think the answer either evasive or unwise. But if I did think it eva- 
sive or unwise, what should I, in order to be consistent, think of the 
answer that my friend gave me the other day at Circleville. I put to 
him this question: '*Do you intend ever to redeem your new green- 
backs in coin?" _And like Senator Sherman, quick and pat, clear and 
distinct, fell the ringing words: *'I refer you to the Democratic plat-, 
form." [Laughter and cheers.] So my brother in this debate sees 
that it is peculiar to Ohio men to answer in that peculiar style. 
[Laughter and applause.] 

My friend has said that when the fractional currency is redeemed 
in coin, you will never get them. He has said that there have been 
$2,600,000 of this fractional currency redeemed in silver coin ; and, 
to every audience until to-day, he has pointed with eloquent and forc- 
ible gesture and said: *'How many of those silver coins have you 
got? Not a dime." 

It cfccurred to me that possibly none of the fractional currency had 
been actually redeemed. So I telegraphed to the Secretary of the 
Treasury, and asked him how much of the fractional currency has 
been redeeijied in silver coin since the passage of the resumption law. 
Now, to save my friend from the mortification of repeating the question 
to the assemblage here, with the telegram in my hand, I showed him 
the telegram before he made his speech. [Laughter.] I was kind to . 
my brother, so that he might not be delivered twice into my hands. 
[Laughter and applause.] And now let me read the telegram : "No 
fractional currency has been redeemed in silver under the specie re- 
sumption law." So, of course, you have not got it. [Laughter.] My 
brother, how could they get it? [Laughter.] 

But I will tell you, my friends, how you can get it. When specie 
resumption comes, the Secretary of the Treasury is ordered to get the 
silver, and coin it and distribute it. How ? So that the brokers down 
on Wall Street, those sinful brokers, may not get it. " He may issue 
such silver coins through the mints " — there are mints elsewhei-e than 
in New York — "the subtreasuries " — there are subtreasuries elsewhere 
than in New York. — "the public depositories" — nearly every national 
bank is a public depository, and there are some here in Tiffin,-^" and ' 
through the post-offices of the United States." So, my brother, let me 
give you a bit of advice, and unlike most New York lawyers I will 
charge you nothing for it : if you want the silver for your fractional 

120 Debate at Tiffin, 

currency, you just hold on to your fractional currency, and when the 
silver comes after resumption has begun, you just go to the post- 
master and pass the fractional currency through the window, and he 
will pass back the silver. Then, if you do not take care of it, it will be 
your fault and not mine. 

Then my friend talks about the paper vmoney of Venice and Russia. 
"Now I frankly confess th^t I seldom talk about that of which I know 
nothing. I shall seek to know, before the close of our debate to- 
morrow night, all the facts with regard to the paper money of Venice, 
and will then be enabled to discuss this Venetian question with my 
friend. \ 

If my friend is right, then Thomas Jefferson was wrong in the ex- 
tract that I read ; and it is now a question of his true knowledge be- 
tween Thomas Jefferson on the one side and Thomas Ewing on the 
other. [Laughter and applause.] I will leave the Venetian ques- 
tion until we meet to-morrow night for the close of the debate. Let 
me here to-day simply say this: That bank of Venice stood, my friend 
tells you, for 300 years. That is, I suppose that its bullion was in its 
vaults, and that the people had the paper imtil Napoleon came and 
broke the bank. The probability is that the Venetians still hold 
their valuable paper, and that Napoleon carried back 'what of the 
worthless gold and silver he could find, and put it in the military 
chest of France. [Cheers.] 

My friend says that the stamp on the paper of the Government 
makes paper money ; that it is the best money the world knows. 
There [shoeing an old Continental note] is some of the paper that 
your Government and mine has m^de. It is a Continental note, which 
was issued in 1778. It promises to pay eight Spanish milled dol- 
lars. It is stamped by the best Government that the w^orld knows. 
It is the best paper that the world knows. All of the Democratic 
Convention at Columbus, if concentrated into one body of wisdom, 
could not surpass that. And there is the best paper money that the 
world knows, issued by the United States. A bushel of it would not 
buy your breakfast to-morrow morning, simply because they put out 
too much, and then they repudiated all. Now do not you again put 
out too pauch. [Applause.] I have finished. Thank you for your 
patient listening. [Cheers.] 

[Time exj>ired.'\ 


Sa±ijurcLcLy JSJverdjng^ Oct. 9j 1875. 


Mr. Chairmen, Ladies and Gentlemen: — 

The finance question to be discussed here to-night is not whether we 
shall have, as a people, gold money or paper money. It is a fight merely 
between the greenback and the blackback. Gold is impossible as the 
money of ordinary business in this country. We never had enough 
before the war when the amount of gold and silver in the country was 
$285,000,000 as against $160,000,000 to-day, and when the business 
to be transacted was not half the business of to-day. We therefore 
can not rely qn gold only, or mamly, or at all, as the common currency 
of the people. 

The issue is, whether that large sum of the public debt which an 
adequate currency would amount to, shall be in the form of non- 
interest-bearing legal tender notes, or of bank notes costing the people 
five per cent, interest : Avhether we shall add $419,000,000 to our in- 
terest-bearing bonded debt in order to take up and destroy the costless 
money of the people, or, on the other- hand, retire the bank money, is- 
sue legal tenders to an equal amount in its place, and with those legal 
tenders purchase and cancel over $300,000,000 of the interest-bearing 
debt. [Applause.] In short, whether we shall add $419,000,000 to 
our burden, or take $300,000,000 off. [Applause.] It also involves 
the question whether the Government of the United States shall con- 
trol, by methods of its own appropriate to that end, the question of the 
proper volume of the currency, which is the life-blood of business; or 
whether the whole control shall be committed to two or three thousand 
pet corporations. [Applause.] Nor is that all. It involves, too, the 


122 Ddxite at Cdumlms. 

question whether the now prostrate business of this country shall rise 
again, or whether this reconstruction law shall be driven, like the car 
of Juggernaut, over its bruised and crippled body. [Applause.] 

This is no new fight. It is one we have had in the United States, 
off and on, from 1813 till now. Toward the close o^ the war of 1812, 
Thomas Jefferson, the father of Democracy, the noblest name in the 
>innals of our political history, [cheers] cried out, in behalf of the debt- 
burdened people of that day, for the suppression of bank paper and 
restoring the currency of the country to the nation, to whom it belongs. 
[Applause.] He said bank paper must be suppressed, and Treasury 
notes issued in its place, and thus, to the extent of the needs of circu- 
lation, lift from the shoulders of the people the burden of the debt of 
two wars. The gentleman came back at me yesterday Avith a quotation 
from Jefferson, to the effect that he believed gold and silver were better 
than a paper currency. No doubt he believed it ; just as Jackson, 
Benton, and most of the public men of the last generation did. But 
when Jefferson demanded the suppression of bank paper there was 
then, as now, not a question between gold and paper money, for in the 
condition of the country then, as now, a gold currency was impracti- 
cable. It was the question whether, as we had to have paper money, 
that money should bo issued by the General Government or by private 
corporations. [Applause.] 

What was the condition of the country when Jackson and Benton 
made their war against bank paper money? Not only out of debt, but 
the little tariff imposed brought into the public treasury a ^und so large 
that, with the economical administration of the Government of that day, 
there remained a large surplus. And one of the perplexing questions of 
the time when they were fighting paper money — that is, bank money — 
and chimoring for specie — that is, money issued by the Government of 
the Unit:'d States — was, ** What shall Ave do with this surplus?" and the 
Whigs and Democrats fought each other desperately over the question 
whether it should be distributed among the States or not. But the two 
war debts that were oppressing the energies of the people, when Thomas 
Jefferson wrote his letters to Eppes, in 1813, had built up a petty aris- 
tocracy which had the political parties of that day as completely in 
their fist as the moneyed aristocracy now has the Republican party. 
[Cheers.] It w^as a comparatively small power, but the population was 
small, and that little concentrated money power mastered the statesmen 
of that day, and prevented the wise advice of Jefferson being followed, 
of issuing paper money by the General Government exclusively. And 
so on down until our war, the concentrated wealth — that is, the wealth 

Ewing's Opening Speech, 123 

expressed in money and m9ney securities — has always succeeded in 
defeating every effort to put or keep in the hands of the General Gov- 
ernment the sole power of making the money of the people. 

When our war came on, when our Treasury ^vas empty, when capital 
shrank and fled, while the **boys in blue" were rising all aver the 
land and marching down to give their lives for their cOuiitry, when 
the holders of money bags tied them up and hid them away in vaults 
and closets, then the General Government was compelled to issue a 
legal tender paper mone^^ that filled ^11 the channels of commerce, lifted 
the Government from des2)air to hopefulness, paid off our armies, sent 
beef and horses and every necessary of war to the field, and, with the - 
blessing of God, brought us the grand triumph which keeps us one 
nation to-day. [Cheers.] But the bank power, however suppressed 
for awhile, only waited its time until, in 1864, they forced the enact- 
ment of the national bank law by which corporations wore created to 
divide with the Government the power of issuing the money of the 
people, and in time to wrest it wholly away. Every step of the 
Republican party from that day, at all affecting the question, has been 
directed to the destruction of the greenback so as to leave the j)eople 
again, where they were before the war, dependent wholly on private 
corporations for the volume and character of their money. 

Consider the successive steps. The five- twenty bonds were issued. 
What did the people get 'for them? Greenbacks. At what price? 
At par. They Avere a six per cent, bond, the Government hav- 
ing the privilege at the end of five years of redeeming them in the 
same money it received for them. In 1869, these $1,600,000,000 of 
five-tw^enty bonds, it w^as apparent, would be a permanent obstacle in 
the w'ay of destroying the greenback, and therefore the act of the 18th 
of March, 1869, was passed, violating the contract on which those 
bonds were issued, and making them payable in gold. Did they say in 
advance they were going to do it? What did the Republican party in 
its platform of 1868 tell the people of Ohio? I have the platform 
here. It told the people that by the contract under which those bonds 
were issued, the principal was payable in legal tenders, and should be 
so paid. [Applause.] What did the Republican party of Indiana in 
its platform of that year tell the people ? That the principal of those 
five-twenty bonds, which comprised almost the whole bonded debt of 
the United States, should be paid ''in the money the people got for them. 
What did Mr. Morton tell, who is now going about Ohio lecturing on 
good faith. He said it would be a gigantic swindle to pay the princi- 
pal of those bonds in gold. What did John Sherman say? He told 

124 Dehate ai Columbus. 

the people that any bond-holder who demanded gold for the principal 
of his bonds, was a "repudiator and an extortioner." [Applause.] 
They came before the people of the Western States Avith these solemn 
declarations of party conventions and eminent statesmen, and thus 
w'on the election. They went back to Washington, and before Gen. 
Grant was warm in his seat, passed the infamous law falsely entitled 
** An act to strengthen the public credit," but which in fact was an act 
of repudiation and extortion, by which they prevented the people pay- 
ing those bonds according to the contract. Greenbacks were then 
worth but seventy cents on the dollar. It made a difference to the 
people of this country of about thirty per cent.'^ on $1,600,000,000 
whether those bonds were to be paid according to the contract or in 
gold. By that act they robbed the people of a right worth at that 
time $500,000,000. But it would not do to let the five-twenty bonds 
stand out payable in the money of the people, because their existence 
furnished a reason for continuing the greenback money as the currency 
of the country. Therefore for the double purpose of still more en- 
riching that money power which is the vital force of the Republican 
party, and of ultimately wiping out the greenback money and leaving 
the field open solely to the national banks, they destroyed this right of 
redemption of those bonds in greenbacks. 

\ The gentleman rather exults in this discussion that I say that the 
act of 1 869 practically fastened the fraud on the people. Why do I 
say so? Because the bonds have changed hands. on the faith of the 
act, and because they have to a large extent been funded in new 
bonds. He comes before the people not denying one Avord I have said 
as to the character of the contract, and the infamous conduct of the 
leaders of the Republican party in violating their pledged' faith, and he 
exults that the fraud and swindle has been fully accomplished, and that, 
therefore there is no reason for keeping the greenbacks in existence. 

Another step toward the destruction of the greenback — one which 
in fact preceded that which I have just explained. In 1866, after the 
troops had been paid off*, almost the whole interest-bearing debt of the 
United States was in five-twenty bonds, or interest-bearing Treasury 
notes. Twelve hundred millions was in Treasury notes, bearing cur- 
rency interest. These notes were held among the people. They an- 
swered the double purpose of currency and investment. After any in- 
stallment of interest had been paid on these notes, they would come 
out and circulate as currency ; and as the time approached for another 
payment of interest, they would be withdrawn by the banks and 

* Ewin^a Opening Speech. ^125 

brokers, or held by the people themselves in order to get the next in- 
stallment of interest. It was a form of debt easily bomfe, because it 
was owed by the Government to the very people who paid the taxes 
which paid the interest upon it. The interest flowed from the Treas- 
ury to the people, and flowed back from the people to the Treasury ; 
and during that period when our debt was largest, held as it was at 
home, we bore more taxes, paid off* a greater volume of the debt, and 
felt the public burdens less than ever we have done since. But that 
large body of Treasury notes, bearing interest in greenbacks, and pay- 
able in greenbacks, if permitted to exist would have made the green- 
back currency permanent. Hence, without consulting the people, the 
Republican party swept them out of existence by funding in six per 
cent, gold bonds. 

The third step toward the destruction of the greenback was the pas- 
sage of the resumption law on the' 14th of January last. It provides 
that the Secretary of the Treasury shall, as rapidly as practicable, buy 
silver, coin it, and redeem and destroy our fractional currency, thus 
adding to the interest-bearing debt of the people $44,000,000 for the 
difference between a silver currency and a paper fractional currency — 
the difference being in effect between a currency that chinks in the 
pocket and one that does n't. [Applause.] We must pay every year 
$2,200,000 more taxes for that purpose. When this new silver is 
issued, where will it go? Will you have it? Not at all. Silver has 
never been below five per cent, premium since the resumption law was 
passed. It is now at about eight per cent, premium. Do you suppose 
that silver money will remain in circulation when it bears a premium 
of even one. per cent. ? It wiU be bought up by the brokers, pre- 
sented at the Treasury in packages sent from Wall Street, the silver 
received for them, and sold at a premium, and the premium pocketed 
by such pet agents of -the administration as Henry ClcAves & Co., or 
their successors. [Applause.] You are, in short, as rapidly as prac- 
ticable, to be stripped of all fractional currency. I made this point 
in a speech at Findlay, and a few days afterward, being in Chicago, 
I saw a copy of the Times, in which it reviewed my Findlay speech 
and said — violent bullionist organ as it is — Ewing is right about the 
fractional money ; this silver can not remain in circulation ; it will be 
sent off* to California, Oregon, Nevada, China, and Japan. But then, 
the Times said, after all, that is not a very serious matter, because 
grocers, saloon keepers, and merchants will all issue shinplasters to 
take the place of the fractional currency. The Times was very frank 

126 Debate at Cdiimhus. 

as far as it went, but it failed to add that the people must pay 
$44,000,000 for the difference. Hardly worth it ! [Applause.] 

Now there is no discretion with the Secretary about this. He is 
compelled to take up the fra^ctional cm-rency with silver as rapidly as 
practicable. The mints are now running night and day coining silver 
for that purpose ; and I predict that under that law, if executed, the 
people of this country will be left, within a year from this time, with- 
out one dollar of fractional money, whether paper or silver. [Ap- 

The law then requires him to. buy gold and have $375,000,000 of 
it in the Treasury on the first of January, 1879, with which to redeem 
and destroy every dollar of greenback money now afloat. He will 
not get any part of that $375,000,000 in gold from revenues. Our 
revenues last year were a little short of our expenditures, and this 
year, a little in excess — the small surplus arising from the fact that 
Congress last winter added $35,000,000 to our taxes. The gentleman 
says that this increased taxation is all right, as the taxes were added 
on tobacco, whisky, and beer. He thinks it is no biirden at all if you 
will collect it off of these articles — it is only rather a more effective 
mode of the crusade. [Applause.] His party slightly broke down at 
the old method of crusade last year. [Cheers.] They are trying it 
on in another form. Why, said my friend, you people have no right 
, to complain of the $35,000,000 of extra tax, because you can avoid it 
all by giving up the use of tobacco, beer, and whisky ! When they 
came to put on this additional tax, the Democrats tried to have it put 
on incomes, and the Republicans voted it down. [Applause.] Oh, 
no, these wealthy gentlemen experienced an income tax once and 
found it disagreeable to have every year, in some method, either by 
equivocation or false swearing, to dodge the tax, and therefore they 
made the Republican party repeal it. It is an unpleasant sort of a 
tax, and so they put the added burden of last winter, not on incomes, 
but on articles of common consumption, so that the day laborer shall 
pay as much of the tax as the rich man. [Applause.] It is simply 
the old and approved British method which puts more tax on the la- 
borer's pipe than it does on the lord's land. [Laughter and applause.] 
I have read somewhere of a tavern in Shropshire called the " Four 
Alls." At the top of the sign in front of the tavern are the letters, . 
ALL. 6n one side of the sign stands a soldier, representing the army 
and navy, pointing up to the letters and saying, "I fight for all." On 
the other side stands a clergyman of the established "thurch, pointing 
up to the letters and saying, " I pray for all." In the middle sits the 

Emn^e Opening Speech, 12Y 

Sovereign Majesty of England pointing up and saying, ** I rule all." 
Below, entirely outside of the sign, and bearing the whole on his 
stooped shoulders, is the laborer pointing up and saying, **I pay for 
all." [Cheers.] 

The Secretary can not get from revenues the money to buy $375,- 
000,000 of gold with which to redeem and destroy the greenback. 
What, then, is his method of getting it ? He may issue five per cent. 
gold bonds to the necessary amount. He has already sold $12,000,000 
of bonds in Europe and bought up a lot of Germany's demonetized sil- 
ver, and is now putting it through the mints. He must go on selling 
bonds, buying silver, taking up the fractional currency ; selling bonds, 
buying gold, piling it. up in the Treasury to bo ready for that day of 
resumption when every greenback may be looked for to be presented 
at the Treasury with a demand for payment in gold. The Government 
can take no risk on that subject. It can not, like these associated 
banks during the panic, say, " We decline to pay, and what will you 
do about it ? " Having pledged its word to pay, and people having 
bought the greenbacks with the expectation of payment, that good faith 
which the gentleman lectures about so strongly, compels it to be ready 
to pay every greenback on that day of resumption, and to do that it 
musit add $375,000,000 more to the bonded debt of the United States. 

But the greenback will not be presented, they say. Can the Govern- 
ment take the risk of its not being preseftted ? and does it make any 
difference whether it is to be presented or not, if we must add S375,- 
000,000 to our bonded debt in order to be ready to pay it if it shall be 
presented? But it will be presented. We have a constantly dimin- 
ishing supply of gold in this country, arising from the fact that for the 
last two years our production of gold has fallen from an aggregate of 
$65,000,000 some few years ago, to an aggregate last year and this 
year of but $36,000,000 ; and from the further fact that we owe in 
Europe $150,000,000 of gold every year as interest on bonds of the 
Government, of railroads, of the States, and of cities. It is true we 
do not pay it all-in gold; we pay part in products when the balance of 
trade happens to be in our favor, and part in making new debts, and 
the remainder by actual shipment of the treasure itself, which has 
gone on since the war at the rate of over $50,000,000 annually — an 
amount of shipment greater by $12,000,000 or $15,000,000 than the 
whole product of gold in the United States. The gentleman talks 
about the balance of trade being now settled in our favor. Well, I 
do n*t know about that. That depends on how the books are footed up. 

128 Debate at Coluvibus. 

It is notorious that no statement of the balance of trade is or can be 
accurate. It depends on the valuation, and the valuation depends 
like Sam Weller's method of spelling— ** on the taste and fancy of the 
speller." [Laughter.] But we ship every year more gold than we 
produce, and vastly more than goes into coinage. The drain is con- 
stant and increasing. We have in all the United States but $160,- 
000,000 of the precious metals now against $285,000,000 in 1860. 
Every year is lessening it ; every year increasing the demand for gold 
interest. This resumption law itself will add $20,000,000 to the annual 
interest drain. Now, will any sane man pretend that, even if we could 
bring the gold over here with which to redeem and destroy our green- 
backs, we can hold it here, with the banks and the governments of all 
nations struggling to obtain it as the foundation for their currency and 
their debt? Why, of course we can't keep it. It will be shipped 
abroad just as our gold now goes abroad ; and the sum total' of it will 
be that we will add this $419,000,000 to our bonded debt; will 
destroy our greenbacks and fractional currency, and will be thrown on 
the mercies of the banks for our paper money ; and then within a year 
or two after resumption, if not immediately, the banks will do just as 
they did after the panic — agree among themselves, and say : " Yes, 
gentlemen, you are entitled to gold, but you can't have it." [Ap- 

And what will the Republican party do about it ? Why, look at 
the way they treat the banks now. This banking act, which I have 
here, imposes on every bank oflSicer an obligation, under the solemnity 
of his oath, to loan money only at the rate of interest authorized in 
the State in which the bank is. Do they do it? Has there been a 
loan made in Columbus for years past at eight per cent, interest? 
T venture to say not. Ten, twelve, fifteen, twenty — any thing they 
can get — without regard to the usury law of the State. They are 
sworn to obey that law. They are required to obey' it by the law 
itself, but not by the administration which executes it. [Applause.] 
No official ever calls a bank officer in question about violating 
that law. No official called the banks in question when, after the 
panic, they agreed among themselves that the people should not 
have their own money out of the banks. The money was on deposit, 
the bank might be able to pay, yet it was understood and agreed 
among the largest national banks over the country that they simply 
would not pay. And so after 1879 they will have an imderstanding 
and agreement that they won't pay in gold, and you will have just 
about as much enforcement of the law requiring specie payment aa 

Ewing's Opening Speech. 129 

you now have of the act of Congress requiring obedience to the usury 
laws of the State. It is a trick to wrest from the people of the coun- 
try the power to issue paper currency, which is the only currency that 
the business of this country can get, and to add to the burden of the 
people $419,000,000, under the plea that honesty and honor and public 
faith demand that they shall turn over this power to these national 
banks. [Applause.] 

Now when the Republican party determined to rob the people of the 
right of paying the five-twenty bonds according to the contract, they 
did not tell you they were going to do it. They solemnly assured you 
they would not do it. And when they determined to rob you of the 
right of issuing paper money by the General Government, and to turn 
over the whole power to their pet corporations, did they advise you of 
the fact ? Was this resumption law considered in open session and dis- 
cussed? Not at all. That's not their style. It was concocted in the 
secret recesses of a congressional caucus. Not one word of the debate 
upon it among the leaders of the Eepublican party was ever suffered to 
go out to the people. [Applause.] They brought ijito their caucus 
Logan, Ferry, Morton, and all the Republicans that pretended to rep- 
resent the business interests of the West, and got them to agree to this 
resumption law framed by Sherman and the other bullionists, and the 
law was reported practically from that caucus to the Senate, and not a 
Republican in the Senate opened his mouth in explanation of its pro- 
visions. Mr. Sherman, the representative of the people of Ohio, the 
representative of Democrats and Republicans alike, in introducing this 
measure which afiects most profoundly the interests of the people — a 
measure fraught with more woe to the American people than any act 
ever passed by Congress — Mr. Sherman, the author and reporter of the 
law, when he came to the Senate, was asked : " Does this mean the de- 
struction of the greenback ? " He declined to answer. ** Will we get 
the gold to buy these greenbacks from revenues ? " He had nothing 
to say in response. And he left the Democrats there to speak and 
fight against the bill, and neither he, nor Morton, nor Ferry, nor Lo- 
gan, ever said one word in explanation of its provisions ; and when it 
went to the House they put it through by a party vote, under the gag 
of the previous question, without any body having a chance to open 
his mouth about it. The gentleman admits that it is a Republican 
measure, that it was passed solely by Republican votes, and that the 
Republican party is pledged to its execution. He is a little more frank 
than any other Republican that comes on the stump this year. You 

do not hear Sherman, or Mprton, or Hayes talking about the specie re- 

130 Debate at Golurnhm, 

sumption law. Oli, no ; they are talking about the terrible dangers to 
the country from the designs of the Pope against our common schools, 
[cheers] and asserting that the war of the Rebellion has to be fought 
over again. They in effect say: "You should not talk about this 
money question; you should look to the public schools and to the 
South — there is the danger ! No danger to your business at all from 
the resumption law ! Just be easy now, and let us carry out our 
finance measures, and do n't bother our North-eastern friends with your 
crude notions about the currency." [Laughter and cheers.] The 
great body of the Republican party of the West and South has been 
siace the war in the position of the automaton chess-player. It has 
been the figure, and its hand has moved the pawns — Logan, Morton, 
Ferry, and all the rest — but the unseen intelligence that played the 
game has been that money power in the East, in whose interest and for 
whose aggrandizement every measure afifecting the debt or currency 
has been contrived and executed, from the national bank law in 1864 
to the resumption act in 1875. [Applause.] 

Now, fellow-citizens, my friend says tii? is an inflation measure. 
Well, what in the world is he fighting us Democrats about inflation for 
if this Republican law is a measure of inflation? 13fi says it effects 
inflation because whenever $100 of the new bank circulation is issued 
only S80 of the greenback is to be retired, and that the increase will 
be twenty per cent, by reason of the new bank circulation. Well, the 
proof of the pudding is in chewing the bag. What has this resumption 
law resulted in so far ? Has it been a measure of expansion ? The 
currency has been contracted since the first of July, 1874, within a 
fraction of $30,000,000. The national banks know perfectly well that 
if this law is to be executed the present volume of national bank 
circulation can't remain honestly and squarely redeemable in gold even 
after the whole of the $419,000,000 of greenbacks and fractional money 
have been destroyed. They have consequently retired their bank cur- 
rency to the aggregate of over $29,000,000. It is no expansion 
measure, but a measure that has produced the full effects of contraction, 
by cancellation and hoarding combined, to at least $200,000,000 up 
to this day. It is a measure that says to every man that has money : 
** Hold on to your greenback, it will be worth seventeen per cent, more 
three years from now than it Ls to-day. You may lock it up in the 
safe, but you get a fair return by just holding it ; and^ above all, do n't 
trust it out in ordhiary business. Do n't you see business men failing 
every- where ? Do n't you see every industry depressed and struggling ; 
houses that have been monuments of commercial success for genera- 

Eiving^s Opening Speech, 131 

tions tumbling and covering whole communities with their ruins? 
This is no time for men to loan money." 

Money is the handmaid of business. Its office is to be loaned and to 
exchange for commodities. Business in this country is conducted by 
the young, energetic, intelligent, ambitious men, who have not accumu- 
lated fortunes, but are seeking to make fortunes by uniting their energy 
with the idle capital of men who are already rich. [Applause.] It is 
the desire to accumulate a fortune that makes men go into and continue 
in business ; and so when men have accumulated wealth, they usually 
retire and loan out their money to men in business. But men, warned 
by the resumption law, have quit loaning. They have hoarded their 
money until it rises now like " Pelion on Ossa, Ossa on Pelion piled." 
They dare not loan it. Of course they can't take the ordinary chances 
of trade, or loan on securities such as business can offer. They will 
lend on mortgages if you put the price of property down to one-third 
its usual value. They will lend on Government bonds or any thing else 
that is better than money, and at two or three per cent. They have in 
effect shrunk from the business of the country, and business is now 
tottering and falling for want of that money w^hich is its life-blood. 

It is the w^ork of the resumption law. It is the work of the steady 
policy of contraction adopted by the Republican party since the war. 

It is the result of that policy which, according to the figures I have 
here, taken from the official tables, gives us to -day in this country — wholly 
excluding the interest-bearing treasury notes to the amount of $1,200,- 
000,000, of which I have spoken — forty per cent, less of legal tenders 
and of national bank notes combined, in proportion to population, than 
we had in 1866. Under the pressure of that contraction men were 
compelled to use credit in place of currency. When we had a full 
currency in 1866, we had less credits by half than we had in 1873. 
Then a few wild railroad schemes, like that of Jay .Cooke & Co., foil — 
schemes which had their origin, not in a redundant currency, as the 
gentleman says, but in land grants made by the Republican party to 
useless enterprises — and when they fell, the credit system of the country, 
which had taken the place of a full currency, fell with them. [Ap- 
plause.] Hence the panic. 

Now, fellow-oitizens, I ask you, how is the business of the country, 
already prostrated, to pass through the next three years of further 
contraction of the currency, continued shrinkage of values, and con- 
tinued doubt and timidity of the holders of money? It will perish in 
the passage. Not one business man in ten can stand it. Mr. Sherman 
tell us that it is only the debtors that will suffer. Who are the debtors? 


132 Debate ai Cdumhvs. 

Almost all business men are both debtors dad creditors, and the failure 
of one knocks down another. As failures multiply, doubt and distrust 
extend, and men who stand eminent in the confidence of the commu- 
nity become affected by the general distrust, and the calamities falling 
on the few extend over the many, and finally cover all. It is a policy 
of disaster and ruin to the business of the country. It is a policy that 
will rob laborers of employment ; will add to the million of unemployed 
men now in th^ country another million next year, and cover this land 
with pauperism and suffering and despair. [Applause.] For this 
return to a nominal gold payment, this return to the cheat of a bank 
currency, nominally redeemable in gold, we add $419,000,000 more to 
our interest-bearing national debt ; we add at least seventeen per cent, 
or $1,360,000,000 more to the eight billions of dollars of currency debt 
now owed in this country, by shrinking the currency, and shrinking 
all values of labor and its products with which debts are paid. And 
we add these vast sums to the general and individual burdens, not by 
the natural process of growth and increase of wealth and rise of the 
currency to par with gold, but by the cunning contrivance of that 
money power in whose hands is lodged the great bulk of those securi- 
ties, and who are to receive without equivalent the enormous wealth 
thus wrested from the people by a forced, unnatural, rascally resump- 
tion. [Great and prolonged applause.] 


To-night the debate which began eight days ago among the coal 
mines of Shawnee, comes to its close in the capital of your great State. 
Before entering on this evening's discussion, I desire to recognize the 
uniform courtesy with which your distinguished fellow-citizen has met 
me upon every platform. If it shall be the judgment of your people 
that I have lost the honors of the debate, I shall at least have the sat- 
isfaction of feeling that I have gained a life-long friend. [Applause.] 

We were invited to discuss the financial issues. By some strange 
mischance the "crusade," and the " bloody shirt," and the school-house 
have crept into our debate, and have coihe upon the platform. 
[Laughter and applause.] I fondly hoped that in our discussion at 

WoodJmFs Reply. 133 

Gallon I had opened the door of that school-house ; that I had dressed 
my friend in that shirt ; and left him in the school-house studying the 
ABC of the one question we had engaged to debate. [Applause.] 

There are one or two other little matters that have thrust them- 
selves into this evening's meeting which possibly had better be cleared 
away before we get at the heart of the discussion. 

My friend has cited Thomas Jefferson as favoring a governmental 
note, to be issued by authority of the Federal Government, and de- 
signed to be used as money among the people. 

Here I wish the earnest, thoughtful attention of every Democrat 
in this audience. My distinguished opponent has said that Jefferson 
was the father of Democracy. Now, children, listen to your father. 
[Gov. Woodford here quoted the correspondence by Jefferson with 
John W. Eppes, reading it in full as in the debate at Tiffin. As it 
has already been given verbatim in the report of that debate on page 
113 of this volume, it has not been thought necessary to reproduce it 

One would think that Jefferson was not only a good Democrat but 
also something of a prophet. When he wrote those words, " Listen not 
to the plea of projectors, speculators, and commercial gamblers ; " do 
you not think that he had the recent Columbus convention clearly in 
view ? [Applause.] 

There is also one other matter which has been thrust into this debate. 
My friend has seen fit, conscientiously no doubt, to speak of the enor- 
mous moneyed power that is centered on the Atlantic coast. That 
plea, if it can have any effect on a Western audience, is to excite the 
prejudice of the Western people against the men of the Atlantic coast. 
I am sorry whenever I hear even a suggestion, however slight, of 
North against South, or East against West. That suggestion of sec- 
tional strife has already piled this debt mountain high, about which we 
discuss to-night. [Cheers.] That suggestion of sectional strife has 
ridged the Southern land with graves ; has made the many widows 
and orphans, who still go mourning among our homes, and will not 
be comforted, because their dear ones are not. 

I make no apology for standing here, a New Yorker on the soil oY 
Ohio. [Cheers.] I am here not simply as a New Yorker to speak to 
men of the Buckeye State; I am here by the higher and absolute 
right of an American citizen [cheers] to plead with my fellow-coun- 

Let me make but one additional suggestion on this point of section- 

134 Dd>ate at Columhus, 

alism before I pass to more congenial themes. Can you suffer and we 
not suffer? To whom do we sell? From whom do you buy? Can 
the banker of New York be prosperous, if the Western bills of ex- 
change are protested ? 

A voice, — " Who fixes the price?" 

G(yv, Woodford, — K you will be patient, my friend, I will try to tell 
you. [Laughter and applause.] I am sure from your kind, candid 
face that we shall agree when I get through. [Laughter and cheers.] 
X You ask me: "Who fixes the prices?" The gold price of every 
bushel of corn grown in the Scioto and Muskingum valleys, is fixed 
by the price at Liverpool. Deduct from the gold price at Liverpool 
the cost of transportation from Ohio to Liverpool, and you have the 
gold price in Ohio. Reduce that gold to its currency value, and you 
have the greenback price here. So, too, the price of iron is deter- 
mined largely by its relation to the price of the like article produced 
abroad. And if you Democrats succeed in paying half the tariff du- 
ties in greenbacks, as your platform demands, I fear that you will 
hurt Ohio iron more than you will English. Who fixes the price ? 

Now we have come to the real questions to be debated to-night. 
The issues of this debate and canvass are determined for my friend and 
myself by the Columbus Democratic platform. If I am correctly in- 
formed, he was chairman of the committee that reported the platform. 
Am I correct ? If he, as chairman, reported the platform, and I have 
been invited to discuss the financial issues of this Ohio canvass, then to 
ayoid all mistakes we will go directly to the Democratic platform it- 

The first controverted points are in its eighth resolution. That res- 
olution declares "That the contraction of the currency heretofore made 
by the Republican party, and the further contraction proposed by it, 
with a view to the forced resumption of specie payment, has already 
brought disaster to the business of ^this country and threatens it with 
general bankruptcy and ruin." 

The first statement is " the contraction caused by the Republican* 
party." "^ There is a very serious doubt whether there has been any con- 
traction of the legal tender currency. Statisticians, of at least equal 
eminence with my friend, say that the volume of legal tender and 
bank notes in circulation to-day is larger than at any previous time in 
our history. They make up the figures as follows : 

Woodfai'd's Reply. 







OB- J^ 

P to 

o Ota 
.* 3 P 

«<J 00 






But my friend takes 1865 as the date from which he computes his 
alleged contraction, and estimates all the seven-thirties as if they had 
been legal tender circulation. Whatever contraction occurred between 
1865 and 1869, was the joint and equal work of both political parties, 
Democratic and Eepublican alike. 

When Secretary McCulloch recommended the contraction of the 
currency, which he did in December, 1865, the following resolution 
was adopted by the House of Representatives : " That this House 
cordially concur in the views of the Secretary of the Tre^^ury in re- 
lation to the necessity of a contraction of the currency, with a view to 
as early resumption of specie payments as the business interests of the 
country will permit. And we hereby pledge co-operative action to this 
end as speedily as possible." The resolution was adopted, without even 
reference to a committee, by a vote of 144 in the affirmative, against 
only 6 in the negative. There were in the House of Representatives 
that afternoon 32 Democrats, all told, and of them 31 voted for the 
resolution and only one against. [Cheers.] 

On the 12th of April, 1866, a bill was passed to carry out the pur- 
pose of that resolution. By that time Andrew Johnson, although 
elected as a Republican, had become a reasonably good Democrat. 
And in April, 1866, on the passage of the bill to carry out the recom- 
mendation of that resolution, only one of all the Democrats in the 
House of Representatives voted ^^nay.'' In the Senate the bill was 
passed, and all the negative votes were unfortunately cast by Republi- 
cans. So it was not Republican contraction. [Laughter.] 

136 D^xde at Cdumbys. 

But my friend will tell you that the Republicans then had control 
of Congress, and that, therefore,' they were responsible for its legislation. 

Let me pause for one moment right here and spe&js. one direct and 
earnest word in regard to this matter of partisan responsibility. *o 
party justly carries the conscience and. judgment of any representative 
or senator. Every man who, with his hand op the Bible, has sworn to 
uphold the Constitution and maintain the law, is bound to do it o» dti- 
zeii, and not as partisan, [Cheers.] 

You and I were citizens before we became partisans. We shall be 
citizens after we have ceased to be partisans. No man's Democracy 
can shield him in the wrong. No man's Republicanism should shield 
•him in the wrong. When my party errs, I should set it right ; or, 
failing in that, should strike it down. When your party errs, you 
should set it right ; or, failing in that, should strike it down. 

Let me say frankly to-night, that I bear in this discussion no "/ree 
lance " that belongs to my party, right or wrong. [Cheers.] As a cit- 
izen I am pledged by the vow of knighthood to succor the distressed, 
to right the wrong, and help to do justice between the high and the 
low. As I said at Ydungstown, when my canvass of your State began, 
so in closing at your capital, let me say to-night, whenever the Re- 
publican party swerves one hair from the royal road of financial in- 
tegrity and strict preservation of the public faith, cast that Republican 
party out and bury it among the great achievements of its mighty 
past. With your faces toward the sunrise and your backs upon the 
past, do your duty by State and nation first and all the time, but never 
in the sole interest of politician or of party. [Applausei] 

Tl^e next clause in this Democratic platform of Ohio, is "the further 
contraction," which my iriend and the Democratic platform alike 
charge as the purpose of the Republican party. Let us frankly meet 
the issue ; and instead of quoting from memory, permit me to read 
this much-abused resumption law : 

*'An 04^ for (he resumption of specie payment. Be U enacted^ etc.. 
That the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized and required, 
as rapidly as practicable, to cause to be coined, at the mints of the 
United States, silver coins of the denominations of ten, twenty-five, and 
fifty cents, of standard value, and to use them in redemption of an 
equal number and amount of fractional currency of similar denomina- 
tions ; or at his discretion " — my friend says you never saw any of it 
out here in Ohio, you know — " he may issue such silver coins through 
the mints"— there are mints elsewhere than in New York — "throu^ 
the sub-treasuries" — there are sub-treasuries elsewhere than in New 

^ Woodford's Epply, 137 


York — "the public depositories" — ^nearly every national ^ank is a pub- 
lic depository — " the post-offices of the United States "-^and there is 
one in every village all over the land. So that when the silver coin 
shall have been provided it will be distributed all over the land, and 
the postmasters will be authorised, just aS they receive and give money 
orders now, to redeem the fractional currency that any man may pre- 
sent at the post-offices. 

My friend says that the silver, when issued, will not float, I sup- 
pose that you are all aware that the silver dollar does not contain a 
dollar's worth of silver. The gold dollar does contain a dollar's worth 
of gold. But the silver dollar is, to use the technical phrase, a de- 
based coin ; there is not a dollar's worth of silver in it. I have hith- 
erto said that it will float whenever gold is at 108. On revising my 
figures I am justified in saying now that it will float whenever gold is 
at 110, with absolute certainty. That is, when it takes $1.10 in 
greenbacks and fractional currency to buy a dollar in gold, a dollar nn 
silver will be worth just as much as the greenback dollar— no more, 
no less. So that with gold at or below 110, there will be no object 
in hoarding or retiring silver. Dr. Linderman, the superintendent of 
the mint, says silver will float with gold at 111 ; but at 110, the 
figures, when worked out or ciphered on the slate, demonstrate posi- 
tively that it will float. Whenever, then, we get and keep gold down 
to 110, we shall be able to maintain silver in circulation. 

But you say to me, at once, this is not honest specie resumption, if 
silver is debased coin. For that reason, silver is only a legal tender, 
under the law as it stands to-day, in amounts not exceeding five dol- 
lars. You never could make any body take more than five dollars of 
silver in payment of debt. So, too, you can only make him take 
twenty-five cents in coppers and nickels. But gold is legal tender in 
all amounts. So that long before gold has come down to an equality 
with greenbacks, silver money will be floating and circulating among 
the people. ^ / 

My friend, until yesterday, figured from the monthly Treasury re- 
ports that $2,600,000 of fractional money had already been retired, and 
exchanged for silver. He used to say, with a good deal of very posi- 
tive and effective eloquence, to all the audiences that we addressed: 
**Now there have been $2,600,000 of this fractional money retired, 
and silver coin issued in its place. Have you seen a dime of it? You 
are entitled to some out here. Have you got any of it ? " 

It occurred to me, after a time, that possibly he was mistaken, and 
that no ^fractional currency had been redeemed in silver. So I tele- 

138 Debate at Cdumbm, 

graphed to the Secretary of the Treasury, and asked him whether any 
of it had been redeemed ; and yesterday I received this telegram which 
I will read to you : "No fractional currency has been redeemed in sil- 
ver under the specie resumption law." [Applause.] 

Then how comes it that the amount of fractional currency in circu- 
lation is less than it was say two months ago. The explanation is 
simply this. As that fractional currency comes in, being paid in to 
the Government at different places, a great deal of it is found to be al- 
most worn out, so worn out that the Government does not reissue it. 
Then what does' the Government do ? All of this worn and defaced 
currency is taken and put together. Its amount is subtracted from 
the total of the debt that is due on one side of the balance sheet, and 
subtracted from the amount of the fractional currency that is reported 
as in the Treasury, on the other. So being taken off of both sides of 
the balance sheet, it does not affect the total result. This defaced cur- 
reflcy is then taken to the canceling room, where the numbers are all 
taken, and it is then burnt up and destroyed. Then new fractional 
currency of the same kind and amounts is printed. This is brought 
into the Treasury room. Then it is again put upon the debt statement 
as so much fractional currency owing on one side, and so much in 
hand, on the other ; and the entire result, as you see, is not changed. 
My friend was accidentally, as in the Jefferson matter, slightly mis- 
taken. [Laughter.] 

Then the next section of this resumption law reads as follows: 
*' That so much of section 3524 of the Revised Statutes of the United 
States as provides for a charge of one-fifth of one per cent, for conve^^ 
ing standard gold bullion into coin is hereby repealed, and hereafter 
no charge shall be made for such service." This hardly requires com- 

The next section makes banking absolutely free ; so that if any body 
desires to go into the banking business, he can put up the capital and 
engage in it the same as in any other business. But my friend might 
suggest, that makes it a monopoly, because only rich men can go into 
it. Tell me what kind of business there is that you can go into with- 
out some amount of capital? [Applause.] Suppose you wanted to 
open a grocery store ; you must have capital or credit. Do you know 
of any kind of business that a man can go into without capital ? That 
which would require the least would be to get a patent and a franchise 
for making greenbacks, [laughter] for then you would only require a 
small printing press, and very little paper and ink, and ,you could 
literally make mon^y. [Applause.] 

Woodf(yrd^8 Reply, 139 


But my friend argues that this law contracts the currency, and that 
greenbacks are steadily retired under this law. Yes; for every $100 in 
bank bills that are issued, $80 in greenbacks are retired. Where is 
the contraction in that? One hui^dred dollars go out andeighij^ come 
in. Are there not twenty dollars* more out than there were w hen you 
started? After the amount of greenbacks is reduced to $300,000,000, 
there can be no further contraction of the greenbacks, no matter how 
much national bank currency is put out. Where is the contraction 

But then my friend says that the process of getting ready for re- 
sumption is retiring the national bank notes. Do you think so? The 
proposed resumption is decreed for the first of January, 1879. No 
one will have to resume even on the 31st of December, 18?8. Now, 
if there is so much profit in national banking, if there is so much 
money to be made out of this banking business, why do not these bankers 
keep on making money till the autumn of 1878, then go out of the 
business and pocket the profit from now till then, and then get the 
gold upon their greenbacks ? [Applause.] 

Ah ! but my friend claims that the fear of resumption is paralyzing 
business. Did a farmer plant one hill less of corn this last summer 
because of the resumption law? [Laughter.] Will not corn bring 
gold to-day ? Men must eat in spite of the resumption law. [Laugh- 
ter.] Will not pork bring gold to-day? Men must eat in spite of the 
resumption law\ Will not wool bring gold to-day ? Men must have 
clothing in spite of the resumption law. 

Wherever there is any thing made to-day that any body else needs, 
that thing can be sold, and it will pay to make or produce it. But it 
does not pay to make things of which there is already a surplus in the 
market, and for which there is no demand. Pile your greenbacks 
mounjtain high, you can not sell things that people do not want. 
[Applause.] So I doubt if the resumption law has frozen Ohio stiff 
this summer. [Applause.] 

My friend then argued that men are hoarding the greenbacks down 
in Wall Street, waiting for the rise in their value ; waiting to realize 
the seventeen per cent, premium on gold. Let us see how that works. 
Those New Yorkers are now getting about three per cent, per annum 
on their money. It is more than three years from now until resump- 
tion. Three times three are nine. They will then get seventeen per 
cent, premium on their greenbacks. Nine and seventeen are twenty- 
six. They make out of the entire transaction in three years twenty-six 
per cent. Suppose that they* should lend their money on good secur- 

140 Debate ai Cohmbm. 

ity in Ohio or elsewhere at eight per cent, per annum. They would 
then get twenty-four per cent, interest on their loan, and then when the 
greenbacks were paid in gold, they would realize the seventeen per 
cent, premium on the gold, and they would thus make fifteen per cent, 
more by lending it out and doing soujiething with it than by hoarding 
it. [Applause.] Those Wall Street men, my friend thinks, are 
smart. [Laughter.] I can assure him now, and being a lawyer by 
profession I have had a good many New Yorkers for clients, I never 
had one so stupid that he would financier in that kind of a ^ay. 
[Laughter and applause.] 

Money is not bein^ actively used. That is true. Let me illustrate 
by a case in point. A great mercantile house in New York had an op- 
portunity last summer to use about half a million of dollars in the 
purchase of a leading staple article. They had notes from all over the 
West, given by Western merchants in payment of goods. That house 
went to a Bank, with which I am acquainted, and the bank wanted 
legal interest on the discount of the paper. They then took the notes 
to a broker on Wall Street, and he sold them on the street at the rat^ 
of four and a half per cent, per annum, because the money could not 
find safe and, at the same time, profitable employment there or else- 
where at a higher rate. 

But my friend asks : Why does the money stay there idle ? Simply 
because since 1867 Ohio and the other great Western States, through 
Mr. Pendleton and other leading men, have been trying to establish 
the wonderful financial principle that you can pay one note by giving 
another. [Applause.] 

My friend claims that resumption will add seventeen per cent, to 
the present enormous indebtedness of the country. That is, he argues 
that if you now paid your present debts in greenbacks you could pay 
them in something worth seventeen cents on the dollar less than the 
gold or gold-bearing greenbacks, which you will have to use in pay- 
ment of your debts after resumption shall have taken place. He 
claims that this will be a wrong to the debtor class. Now follow his 
logic out. If you issue enough paper to advance gold one per cent., 
then you help the debtor class one per cent. Do you not ? If you 
issue enough paper to put gold up ten per cent., then if his logic be 
correct, you help the debtor class ten per cent. If you issue enough "^ 

of your paper to make it worth only one per cent, on the dollar, you 
will help the debtor class ninety-nine cents on the dollar, and enable 
them to pay ofi* their debts with one cent on the dollar. Is not that 
literally true? If bringing gold down does the debtor class wrong. 

Woodfar^s Beply. 141 

then putting gold up does the debtor cIslbs good. If you only can get 
so much paper out that it will not be worth any thing, why then the 
debtor class will have their debts all paid. Where can you escape 
from the logic? 

My friend keeps on suggesting that terrible wrong is done to the 
debtor class. It was to avoid all semblance of wrong that, when the 
resumption law was passed, four years were given to adjust the busi- 
ness of the country to its requirements. Even then that law says to 
no man, '* You shall pay your debt in gold." It says to no bank, 
** You shall pay your debt in gold." It does say this : ** As the Gov- 
ernment was benefited by the forced loan of the greenback ; as aU this 
disturbance of values was thrown into your business by this abnormal 
kind of money, so the Government, that received the benefit, should 
bear the loss. Therefore this resumption law provides that the Gov- 
ernment must get the necessary gold at its cost and charge, so that 
every body shall have the gold for his .greenbacks. 

This law puts the credit of the Government under the vast load of 
our indebtedness. It will not do what the old English scheme did — 
crush the debtor class down from above. But it will make the green- 
back gold, and so, just as you lift a house, when you raise it into the 
air a foot higher and put a strong foundation under it, this law seeks 
to put the credit of this great nation under the business of the coun- 
try, and lift your paper money up, so that every man who now has a 
greenback dollar shall then have a gold dollar that the nation has 
^venhim. [Cheers.] 

This resumption law may not be all that it should be. The time 
may have been fixed too far ahead ; it may have been fixed too near. 
It may be that as we come to the appointed hour, it will not be pos- 
sible for the Government tcj resume. The Republican party does not 
say that imder any and aU circumstances it will enforce this law as 
against the interests of the people. It does say this : " We will try 
honestly and resolutely, to enforce this law in the true interest of the 
people." K we find that in any respect it is either wrong or that it 
will not work, then we will do what the Republican party has always 
claimed the right and the privilege of doing; we will try to be hon- 
est, and at the same time to take care of the industries of the people. 

Do we not try faithfully to care for these industries now ? Have 
we not cared for the farmer, so that it pays to raise wool in the State 
of Ohio? Have we not cared for the coal interests of the Hocking 
Valley? Have we not cared for the iron interests of the State of Ohio ? 

142 Debate at (Mumbu8. 

Where has labor raised its strong arm, where has the furnace flung 
out its fiery banner, where has industry called to the .Government 
for help, that the Republican party has not, by prompt and responsive 
laws, sought to protect American interests and American labor? 

We propose to stand by American industry. We do not propose, 
until greenbacks become .asgood as gold, to put a premium on foreign 
importations by practically reducing the tariff through paying one- 
half of the duties in greenbacks. [Applause.] 

Will not the payment of one-half duties in greenbacks, as required 
by this Democratic platform, reduce the duties very greatly ? Let me 
prove this. Aii importer brings here $200,000 worth of foreign ar- 
ticles, the duty on which is $100,000. He now has to pay his duties 
in gold. If he has to buy the gold, he pays seventeen per cent, pre 
mium. Then his duties, at a greenback valuation, cost him $117,000. 
Do they not? But if he. can pay one-half in greenbacks, he has only 
got to buy one-half in gold ; and his- duties will cost him, at' a green- 
back valuation, but $108,500. Is not that so ? Does not that $8,500 
just so far protect the English and the foreign manufacturer against 
the American manufacturer? [Voices, "Yes," "yes," and applause.] 

My friend wants to take care of American industry by practically 
striking down the tariff that protects American labor. [Cheers.] 

I have said that the resumption law may not be all that we desire. 
If it is not we will try to make it right. We started for Richmond 
a good many times [cheers], and we tried it a good many ways. At 
last some Ohio soldiers taught us how to go. [Cheers.] So let Ohio 
now point the way towards specie resumption, and "we will fight it 
out on this line if it takes all summer." 

But, for the sake of argument, I will grant my friend all that he 
desires. Suppose that the specie resumption law were repealed to- " 
night. Suppose it were off the statute-book. He thinks it the only is- 
sue of the campaign. Would you, my Democratic friends, be satisfied? 

A voice. — Yes. 

Gov. Woodford. — Who was that kind friend that said yeS ? [Laugh- 

Then I have one more gpod Democrat three-fourths converted. 
My friend says that he wiU be contented with the specie resumption 
law repealed. 

TJie same voice. — Certainly. 

Gov. Woodford. — Now the platform of the Democratic party in 
Ohio not only demands that this policy of contraction be abandoned, 

Waodford^s Eeply. 


and this resumption law be Repealed, but this platform goes on to say, 
" And that the volume of the currency be made and kept equal to the 
wants of trade." ' 

The mtne voice, — I am in full accord, Governor, in full accord. 

Gov. Wo^ford, — Then I have redeemed one greenback already. 

Now, my Democratic brothers, when I tvaa down at Shawnee, among 
those earnest and honest laboring men, the cry that met their gallant 
champion was, not for the repeal of the specie resumption law, but, 
** more greenbacks.^' And when a party of the most st^wart and fine- 
looking fellows that I have seen for many a day, came down from 
Columbus to greet their champion at Lancaster, their ringing welcome 
uttered all through his eloquent speech, was, *^more gree'nbdelcs" ^^more 
greenbacks." [Applause.] 

The specie resumption law is only the fence that keeps the wild 
cattle in. Take down the specie resumption law, and the wild cattle 
will come out. They want to repeal the specie resumption law, in the 
language of their platform, so that the volume of the currency be made 
and kept equal to the demands of trade. 

Their is no fair-minded man in this audience but knows that this is 
their purpose. If you have heard their candidate for Lieutenant- 
Governor speak, what word has he uttered except *' more money for 
the people ? " If you have heard the distinguished and aged gentleman, 
who is their candidate for Governor, speak, it has been "more money 
for the people." It has only been since we pinned this heresy of infla- 
tion with a **free lance," into the earth, that they have begun saying 
that " it is not inflation that they want," that they only seek to get rid 
of the odious specie resumption law. [Applause.] 

My Democratic brother, give me candid hearing. If the volume of 
the currency is sufficient now, why did your platform say that it "6e 
madef" Do you " make" what already is? If there is enough now, is 
there any thing to be made ? You make what is not, so that it may 
thereafter have existence. It is to be ^'kepV If what you make to- 
day is not sufficient, more is to be made to-morrow. The volume is to 
be ]cq)t equal to the demands of trade. The first step is, down with the 
resumption law. The second step is, to make the volume of currency 
and keep it equal to the demands of trade. That is in the Democratic 
platform so clear, so plain, that it can not be gainsaid. 

Let us discuss this matter of inflation a little further. In the open- 
ing meeting at Shawnee, I ventured to say that I believed that the 
principal question demanding our attention was this : Shall the Gov- 
ernment, of its own sovereign authority, print, and hereafter continue 

144 Debate at Cdumhm, * 

to print irredeemable paper and stamp It with the alluring name of 
money, and make it a legal tender in the payment of debt ? On that 
night, in thaf same debate, my distinguished friend used the following 
words. That I may do him no injustice, I quote from the stenographic 
report: "The gentleman states what he understands to fce the issue 
that we are to discuss to-night. His blanket doesn 't cover the horse. 
So far as he states it, I have no special reason to complain; but he 
states only a fragment of the issue. He says the question is whether 
this Government shaU issue legal tender paper money — for that it is, 
stripped of its gloss. I am willing to accept that issue. We say it has 
the right to issue it, and it ought to issue it." 

Thus we have the question squarely presented. For one, I do not 
believe that the Government ought to issue paper money. 

In the first place, I do n't believe that in time of peace it has the 
constitutional authority. I ain not going to pause to argue that at 
length now. In time of war it may have had the right, but in time 
of peace it has not. So Daniel Webster declared. So said Andreir 
Jackson. So said Thomas H. Benton. Until the war of the rebelHon 
we never heard the claim seriously urged that the Government could 
make, print, and circulate a legal tender paper money in time of peace. 

But possibly the power may be constitutional. My friend may suc- 
ceed in demonstrating to you that it is. But let me ask your attention 
to this very serious question. If possibly it be constitutional to print 
legal tender in time of peace, is it not a very dangerous power to 
exercise? Does it not tend inevitably to centralize all power in the 
Government at Washington ? 

You Democrats blamed us Kepublicans because in time of war we 
used the centralization of the sword. You then plead for the reserved 
rights of the State. You then plead against uniting and centralizing 
the military power of this great Government in the central authority 
at Washington. And yet, in this time of peace, when there is no 
rebellion to be overthrown, when there are no enemies to be put down, 
you would substitute for the centralization of the sword the centrali- 
zation of the purse. This is the more dangerous power to-day. And 
why? You would give to that Government at Washington the right 
to regulate all your financial business. If, of its own sovereign will 
and in its own sovereign way, it may regulate the volume of money, it 
may also regulate the volume of business that you may do. It may 
regulate the price of your wages. It may regulate the price of your 
corn. You thus change our government into a parental government, 
a patriarchal government, like the old monarchies across the ocean. 




Wbodfor<rs Eeply. 145 

' ^^ This is a nation and yet it is a government of delegated powers. 

that The central authority at Washington has just such powers as the 

ing people have given it to enable it to discharge its functions. No more; 

)liic no less. That was the essence of the old democratic idea; but the 

Democrats carried this doctrine to such an extreme assertion of State 
rights that they practically destroyed the essential, central idea of our 

her In the time of the rebellion, in order that Ave might save our land — 

is, because the highest national right that a nation can have is the right 

hi' to live — we exercised all necessary power. We fought the war. 

Where in the Constitution was there a line of authority to free a single 
slave? [Cheers.] But because slavery stood in the way of the life of 
the nation, because it was there barring the advance of your brave 
hoys in blue, we slew slav^ery. [Cheers.] We smote it down without 
the authority of the Constitution, that we might save the nation alive. 
And now, when the rebellion is ended, the party that stood by 
liberty and law and union, says: *'In these happy hours let us come 
back to the old ways of peace, to the old interpretation of the Consti- 
tution of the fatliers." [Applause.] 

While we are seeking this, our Democratic opponents *re trying to 
take the entire money power and concentrate it into the hands of 
Congress ; that Congress may determine the value of every day's labor; 
that Congress may determine the price of every bushel of com. We 
say no. In the language of the Democratic platform, the Republicans 
really want the volume of the currency to be regulated by the demands 
of trade. [Applause.] But we want trade to do it and not the politi- 
cians. [Prolonged cheers.] 

What a happy time you would have on the currency question, with 
General Cary in Congress from the Cincinnati district, saying: "We 
need more greenbacks. Oh! print them, print them* print them." 
[Laughter and applause.] With Governor Allen there. from the Chil- 
licothe district, with one eye on the presidential chair and the other on 
a pile of crisp new legal tenders, saying: "Do whatever you like so 
long as you nominate me for the presidency." [Laughter and cheers.] 
With my friend, Gen. Ewing, there, from the Columbus district, 
saying, with his grave candor and wisdom: "I don't know whether 
we need more greenbacks or not." With my friend Vorhees, of 
Indiana, saying: "We want to print at least $1,500,000,000 more of 
them so that we may surely have enough all round." [Laughter and 

What business could you safely do ? Before every presidential elec- 

146 Debate at Oolumbus. 

tion now your business is paralyzed, waiting to know what shall be the 
financial policy of the party that may come into power. 

If Congress is to have the right of saying: "We will print 
$200,000,000 of greenbacks this next year," or, "We will call in 
$200,000,000," I am inclined to think that Congressmen could make 
new rings pretty rapidly — rings tha^ would outstrip in corruption any 
thing that was ever done or dreamed before by either Republican or 
Democrat in the city of Washington. [Applause.] 

You Democrats — because to you do I most love to address myself — 
must have a hard time keeping up w^ith your party. [Laughter and 
applause.] In 1864 you resolved that the war for the Union was a 
failure. In 1868 you resolved that it was a success. [Laughter.] In 
1868 you wanted to pay the bonds in greenbacks. By 1872 — listen to 
the National Democratic Convention: '^The publie credit mvst be sa- 
credly maintained." This is not Mr. Woodford; this is the National 
Democratic Convention presided over by the spirit of Thomas Jeffer- 
son. [Laughter and applause.] '*The public credit must be sacredly 
maintained, and we denounce repudiation in every form. A speedy 
return to specie payment is demanded alike by the highest considera- 
tions of commercial morality and honest government." [Applause.] 

There is a slight discrepancy between that platform and the one that 
my friend is endeavoring to uphold before you to-night. [Laughter.] 
My Democratic brothers, if you were honest in 1872, and believed 
these utterances of yours then, please try and explain to yourselves 
how you can vote against the same principles now. The change of 
party name does not change the principle. Democracy, when it 
emerged from the fire of the Rebellion, had but one principle of old 
Democracy left in it, and that was ** hard money" Alas I the last rag 
is burnt off now. [Cheers.] 

Not only does such proposed exercise of power centralize authori|ty 
in the national Government, but it can not be exercised without the 
possibility — nay, without the certainty, of terrible governmental cor- 
ruption. Let me tell you why. A number of different schemes are 
before Congress. One asks for money to tunnel the Eocky Mountains. 
Another asks for money to build some railroad. The third seeks to 
build a canal. All these interests log-roll together to pass their bills. 
Congress does not have to levy a tax if they can simply print new 
greenbacks. They are held to no accountability. They simply print 
what paper money is necessary. The last check of accountability is 
taken from your public servants. Remember this, and think of it se- 



Woodford's Reply. 147 

^ ^ To-day if Congress proposes to vote money, it has to do one of two 

things. If the money is not in the Treasury, it either has to provide 

1^'^ a tax in the form of tariff or internal revenue to raise the money ; or 

it must go out and borrow it, and so directly add it to the national 
debt. If you adopt the principle of allowing Congress to print what 
greenbacks it pleases, do not you see, as clearly as the sunlight, that 
every kind of corruption and jobbery would run riot throughout the 
federal capital, and the people would be powerless to check their rep- 
resentatives, because the printing press alone would do the work? 

I agree with my friend that the Government should furnish the 
iQoney of the people. But it should be the money that is recognized 
by the old Constitution — gold and silver. The Government can not 
coin money unless it has bullion ; buUion that is money to-day, that 
was money yesterday, that will be money to-morrow ; money that poli- 
ticians can not unmake ; the money of the common people. [Ap- 

My Democratic friends talk about the gold gamblers of Wall Street. 
Let me make one suggestion. Bear it in your thoughtful memory. 
Whoever heard of gambling in gold when gold was money ? It was 
only when gold ceased to be money, and became an article of mer- 
chandise, that men gambled in it. Men gamble in corn. They do 
not gamble in the size of the bushel. They gamble in wheat. They 
do not gamble in the size of the bushel. They gamble in pork. They 
do not gamble in the weight of the pound. Money is to value what 
the bushel is to quantity, what the yardstick is to length, what the 
pound is to weight. When you have- a stable money that will not 
change, men can not gamble in it. When you have made gold to be 
money once again, so that it shall be worth no more to-morrow than it 
is to-day, you will have forever crushed the gold gamblers of Wall 
Street. [Cheers.] But just so long as you leave a difference between 
pap^ and gold, you are encouraging gold gambling. 

There are two kinds of capital in New York, as there are all over 
the land. There is the kind of capital that is withheld from active 
business and that simply fattens on interest ; and there is the capital 
that is controlled by strong, brave men, that is used in business, in 
manufactures, and in trade. The capital that such men hold is in bus- 
iness to-day, or it will go there as soon as you make business stable and 
profitable. But the money that lies in the broker shops of Wall 
Street, that gambles in gold and that lives on the needs of industry, 
always thrives and grows fat and strong when the poor laboring man 

148 Debate at GduTnbus. 

gets a depreciated paper dollar, and the gold gambler alone holds the 
real measure of value. [Applause.] 

But that is not all. This Democratic platform proposes **the 
prompt retirement of the national bank currency." My friend has 
admitted that the bonds must all be paid in gold. He says that I 
ispeak in tones of jubilee in regard to this. There is no jubilee ringing 
in my voice. I am simply stating the hard legal fact, that all the 
bonds are now practically payable in gold. This my friend is forced 
to admit. Under the terms of the law, as it now stands, all the bonds 
are, or can be made, payable in gold before their maturity. Then if the 
bond-holder is already secure, how is the bill-holder to be helped by 
issuing more greenbacks ? How is my friend to get his new green- 
backs out ? I asked him at Circleville, and with direct, manly frank- 
ness, he said: ** By going into the market and buying up bonds." 

This new Democratic scheme of finance contemplates, then, retiring 
the bank currency on one side, and using the new greenbacks in buy- 
ing up bonds on the other. Let us see how this is going to work. 
This bank currency belongs to the banks all over the land. All your 
business is done through the banks. Every trader, every merchant, 
every manufacturer, keeps his account in some bank. You trade with 
checks. You pay in checks, and you receive checks. You have a 
note of your neighbor's ; you want to use the money on it ; you go to 
a bank and you get it discounted. Your notes have been discounted 
by the banks all over the country. The bank circulation is to be re- 
tired promptly^ is it? How will the banks get their bills? There are 
$350,000,000 of them out and in circulation now. They must either 
get those bills and carry them to Washington, to take up their bonds, 
or they must get greenbacks, take them to Washington, and deposit 
the. greenbacks in the Treasury, there to remain until the national 
bank notes come in for redemption or exchange. So that whether the 
banks retire bank bills or greenbacks, $350,000,000, the amount of the 
present circulation, is to be taken out of the active business of the 

How can you withdraw $350,000,000 without disturbing and break- 
ing your business all over the land? The banks must stop discount- 
ing. You go to a bank and want money. The banker replies at 
once : ** No, we can not give it to you. The banks are to be broken 
up. Our circulation is to be retired. We are forced to get in our 
bills and send them to Washington." 

Three hundred and fifty millions of dollars in paper money, either 
bank bilk or greenbacks, are to be taken out of the active circula- 

WoodfariTs Reply. 149 

tion of the country. That, you see, is inevitable. It goes, where ? 
Out of the business of the country ; out of the stores ; out of the 
shops ; out of the large farms ; out of the pockets of the people, and 
goes to the Treasury at Washington. 

Then how are the new greenbacks to be put in circulation. My 
friend will go to Wall Street and buy, in the open market there, the 
bonds of the people, and pay for them in his new greenbacks. Your 
complaint about this money matter now, is that there is already too 
much money there and too little here. Your remedy is to haul $350,- 
000,000 out of the active business circulation of the entire land, and 
expend $350,000,000 with the gold gamblers and the bond-holders of 
Wall Street. [Applause.] 

There is no thoughtful man but must see and realize what mad- 
ness of finance, what mockery of statesmanship it is, to pull $350,- 
000,000 out of the business circulation of the country and thrust" 
$350,000,000 additional into Wall Street, where the money is not 
wanted to-day. 

If you succeed in working this new miracle of finance, I fear you 
will have to print some more greenbacks, whether you believe in in- 
flation or not. [Laughter.] You will then have to start your print- 
ing presses whether you will or no. 

How are you to get your new greenbacks out? Are you going into 
reckless expenditure to get rid of them ? Are you going to do as a 
Democrat, with very serious face, suggested to me at Tiffin, yester- 
day? ''Why," said he, "it is not going to be difficult to distribute 
these greenbacks." ** How, my friend," I asked him, " are you go- 
ing to get them out?" '* Wliy — w^hy — -.why — send people through 
the country to give them to every body w^ho wants them, and take 
their vouchers and file them at Washington." [Laughter and ap- 

The distinguished Mr. Samuel Cox, long time a member of Con- 
gress from Ohio, had even a better plan than that. He rose one day, 
after one of these Western gentlemen had been discussing inflation, 
and offered this resolution in the House : ^^ Resolved, That from and 
after this date every greenback and bank note in the country shall 
be taken as a legal tender for twice its present face value." [Laugh- 
ter and cheers.] That would have inflated the currency just double 
the amount at once, and there would have been no trouble about it. 
[Laughter.] ^ 

But, seriously, how are you going to get them out ? Suppose that 
they were all here to-night, piled on this platform, how could you 

150 Debate at (Mumhis, 

get them out ? If you. buy more bonds iii Wall Street, Wall Street 
gets them all. If you retire more bank notes in the country, the 
country loses the little that it has. This magnificent system of 
finance has this only to recommend it. It is Scriptural in its sug- 
gestion, for, when you have done, to him that hath would have been 
given, and from him that had not, would have been taken away, 
even the little that the poor fellow had. ^Laughter and cheers.] 

Let me repeat to-night the illustration I have elsewhere used. I 
know of but five ways to get money out. I can not pack it into 
shorter space, or give it to you in more homeopathic form than this. 
I do wish you to take it away with you and ponder seriously upon 
it. If you have any thing to sell, and some body else wants to buy, 
you can sell. He buys, and then you have more greenbacks. If you 
can do some kind of work better than he, you can work and he can 
hire. Then you have more greenbacks. If you want to borrow and 
your credit is good, you can borrow and he can lend, and then you 
have more greenbacks. Or, if you are '* hard up," and he is gener- 
ous, you can beg and he can give, and then you have more green- 
backs. [Laughter.] Or, if you happen to have been thoroughly in- 
doctrinated with the essence of the Columbus Liflation Convention, 
you can steal the greenbacks and then you have got them. [Laugh- 
ter and cheers.] I do not mean to use these words discourteously. 

Said Andrew Jackson : " No system has ever been devised for rob- 
bing the laborer of the fruits of his toil like an irredeemable paper 
currency. It makes the rich forever richer, and the poor forever 
poorer." [Cheers.] 

When you have at last gotten this new paper money afloat, where 
will its ultimate loss always fall? Always on the laboring poor. 
The rich man, when panic and disaster come, may live on what he 
has gathered from the earnings of other days, or from what his an- 
cestors have left him. But the poor. man, with wife and children 
pleading for shelter, for clothing, and for bread, has nothing between 
him and them and actual want, but the strong arm and earnest will 
that God has given him. Then, in that hour he must work ; he must 
take for pay whatever paper is circulating in the country ; and at the 
end the rich man will have gotten rid of all of his worthless paper 
and the poor man — God help him — will stand with the paper rags 
griped in the fist of honest toil, [Cheers.] 

I would not dare, in the solemnity of this parting hour, to appeal 
to your prejudice or your passion. I have naught to say about the 
whisky that you drink or the pipe that you smoke. I have naught 


Emn^s Rejoinder, 151 

to say that shall make any man uneasy in the lot where he has been 
placed — naught that shall kindle communistic passion or inflame 

In this parting hour I would simply leave with you this last ap- 
peal. There is but one sure way to attain a competence. It is by 
industry, by economy, by integrity. Some men may gamble into 
fortunes; but of the hundred who thus reach after wealth, ninety- 
nine fall and die by the way. I leave with you to-night, men of 
Ohio, the old, hard lesson : ** In the sweat of our brows we must eat 
our daily bread.*' We must work. We must save. I know myself 
what it is and what it means to have been poor. But energy, indus- 
try, and resolution will always conquer in the long run. Working 
men of Columbus, while I plead with you to-night, do not dream that 
by some gambling chicanery of finance, do not dream that by some 
mysterious legerdemain, do not dream that by some magic printer's 
ink and printing press, you can create money either for yourselves or 
for your nation. We must work for all that we have. We must 
save all that we keep. Let us go back to the old paths of industry 
and integrity. Let us make our nation absolutely honest, and thus 
protect the Mil-holder as well as the bond-holder. [Prolonged cheering.] 

[Time ea^pired,'] 


FeUoW'Citizens : — 

I reciprocate very cordially the sentiment of personal kindness and 
regard with which my friend from New York closes on his part this 
series of debates. 

I have felt throughout these discussions considerable embarrass- 
ment arising both from want of fitness, and want of preparation, for 
the peculiar character of controversy in which we have been engaged. 
I lack the faculty of imagination which so largely predominates in 
my friend from New York. .[Cheers.] I have no store of sky rockets 
to send fizzing from the platform, [cheers] to burst in splendor in mid- 
air, dazzling and bewildering the audience. [Cheers.] I feel a diffi- 
culty in answering him because of his splendid rhetoric. His argu- 
ments are 

152 Debate at Columbus, 

■" Like poppies spread, 

You seize the flower, the bloom is shed ; 
Or like the boreal is' race. 
That flit ere you can point their place ; 
Or like the snow falls in the river, 
A moment white, then melt forever." 

[" Good," " good," and applause.] 

I have been unable in these discussions to tell what in the world land- 
ing on Mt. Ararat had to do with specie payment [cheers] ; or to get in 
my mind a proper conception of the figure by which he seems to pre- 
sent himself as Moses coming down from Mt. Sinai. [Applause.] 
According to my plain reading of the Scriptures, I supposed that Moses, 
when he descended the mount, found Aaron making, and persuading 
the people to worship, the golden calf. [Laughter and cheers.] His 
figure turns me about, and seems to represent the people of Ohio as 
the worshipers of the calf, and himself, fresh from Wall Street, as the 
outraged bearer of the tables of the law. [Cheers.] 

I was not supplied either, as a fit preparation for these debates, with 
old coins and bills, with which to give " object lessons" at our kinder- 
garten schools. [Laughter and cheers.] Now, I blame John Thomp- 
son for that. [Laughter.] He knew that a large part of the effec- 
tiveness of the discussion in which I was being engaged would depend 
on having the very coins to show to the people. Why, he knew all 
about that coin of the Dutch Kepublic that has been shown around the 
State by my friend. He ought to have obtained for me one of the 
coins dug by Schliemann and other antiquarians, from the ruins of the 
cities of Asia Minor — not only antedating the coin of the Dutch Repub- 
lic, but going back to a civilization *' ere Romulus and Remus had 
been suckled." [Applause.] If I had had one of those coins, I could 
have shown how it contains just as much copper now as it did then. 
[Laughter.] The chairman of the Democratic State Executive Com- 
mittee ought to have endeavored to get for me, also, one of the notes 
of the Republic of Venice, issued by that Republic in the thirteenth 
century ; never payable in coin ; containing no promise, as this offensive 
greenback does, for payment in coin ; and which was a legal tender 
between man and man, and between citizens and the State. That 
legal tender money, the first paper money probably ever issued in the 
world, did more than all else to establish the commercial power of 
Venice, and make her the peerless monarch of the seas [ai)pliiuse] ; 
a currency that always stood above par in gold and silver; that was 
never repudiated, as the gentleman says all legal tender paper money 

Ewin^i B^oinder, 153 

issued by a government in time of peace, must inevitably be ; and 
which for 500 years discharged better than gold and silver all the 
offices of money in that wonderfully prosperous republic. The com- 
mittee might also have supplied me with a coin of a date of about 
the fourteenth century in England, going back a hundred years or so 
earlier than his coin of the Dutch Republic ; a dollar of which then 
bought the day labor of fifty men, while it will noAv only buy the day 
labor of one man ; in order that by holding up the coin, I might, to 
untutored minds, make the statement intelligible that gold and silver, 
instead of being the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, have shrunk 
in value ninety-eight per cent, in the last 500 years. The committee 
might easily have got for me a bond of the Confederate Govern- 
ment to hold up, as the gentleman has held up to former audiences 
a Confederate note, so that the people, when looking at the bond, 
might appreciate my statement, that when the Confederate Govern- 
ment fell, and its credit was good for nothing, its bonds were worth no 
more than its graybacks [applause] ; and as a sort of a warning to the 
Republican party, which is piling up debt on the nation. States, local 
governments, corporations, and individuals, that there is such a thing 
as heaping the interest-bearing debt of a community to such a height 
as to sink it in utter insolvency. [Applause.] They might perhaps 
have supplied me with a bond issued by one of the Middle States, 
and which the State repudiated ; issued, too, when there was none 
of this viciojis legai tender paper money in existence; so that the 
people might understand, by looking at the bond, that it is not neces- 
sarily the issue of paper money that leads to repudiation. Sydney 
Smith had a large number of those bonds, and when the State repu- 
diated, lie exclaimed to some of his friends, in the language of St. Paul, 
"Would that you were all like me, brethren — except these bonds" 
[Laughter and applause.] The committee might have furnished me 
the same kind of currency, perhaps, which the gentleman has spoken 
of often in these debates, telling how Captain Cook established cowry 
shells as legal tenders in the Sandwich Islands ; and how he exchanged 
the cowries with the natives as the established currency of the Islands, 
until finally it turned out that Captain Cook held all the gold and the 
natives held all the cowries. [Laughter.] My friend has not actually 
exhibited any cowry shells in this debate, and so far, only, he was in- 
complete in his object lessons. [Laughter.] 

But the cowry-shell legal tender is a pretty strong illustration, as he 
presents it, of the way the greenback and the gold have been managed 
in this country. When the purchasers of the bonds came to buy them 

154 Debate at Cohmbus, 

they gave par for them in cowries — legal tender paper money; but 
when they got the bonds they /made them payable in gold, although 
they had agreed to take cowries for them. [Cheers.] So, too, here 
are eight billions of debt for which the persons, corporations, and 
States making the debt received greenbacks — cowry shells — with the 
understanding that when they came to pay the debt they might pay in 
cowries. But this resumption law provides that when the time of pay- 
ment comes round, instead of paying in the cowry-shell greenback, > 
they have got to pay in gold, [cheers] — in order that the holders of 
this vast sum of debt, when the transaction comes to be closed, shall 
have all the gold and leave to the natives all the cowries. [Applause.] 

The gentleman says that whenever gold comes down ten per cent., 
silver will float at par as a fractional currency. Well, gold was down 
for many months before the passage of the resumption law, to nine per 
cent. Di(f you then see any silver among the people? [^Voices, "No,** 
no."] Not a bit of it. An ounce of fact is worth a pound of theory. 

The gentlen;ian says we are going to overthrow the business of 
this country, by substituting greenbacks for national bank notes ; for 
it will involve the withdrawal of $350,000,000 of currency, all at once, 
from among the people. It will do no such thing. The national 
banks, many of them, have retired their circulation since the resump- 
tion law passed. How do they do it? The president of a bank in 
Columbus who wants to retire its circulation may pack up $90,000 of 
greenbacks, go to Washington, give the greenbacks to the Treasurer, 
get the $100,000 of bonds deposited there as security for his bank cir- 
culation, take the* bonds to New York, sell them at twenty per cent, 
premium, and come back to Columbus — all within two days — with 
$120,000 of greenbacks to put in his bank in place of the $90,000 taken 
away, and then loan them out at twelve or fifteen per cent, to the peo- 
ple. [Cheers.] We shall have the privilege of being shaved at the 
national banks just the same during and after the retirement of this 
bank circulation as to-day. [Laughter.] 

The gentleman is distressed about the unconstitutionality of issuing 
greenbacks in time of peace. He says it is certainly unconstitutional. 
But the Supreme Court of the United States holds otherwise. It has 
decided that the greenback is constitutional ; and does n't restrict the 
reasoning of the decision at all to the issue in time of war. [Cheers.] 
There is not a word in the decision of the court indicating that the 
legal tender notes may not be issued in peace as well as in war — not a 

Ewing's Rejoindei\ 155 

He says there will be vast centralization, and numberless corrupt 
subsidies, if the General Government issues greenbacks. Well, our Co- 
lumbus platform declares expressly against all Government subsidies ; 
whether in the shape of land, bonds, or money. [Cheers.] He seems 
to be fond of holding us to the Columbus platform in his discussions ; 
and I therefore hope he will take that plank of our platform as an 
answer to his charge. 

The currency must be *^ equal to the wants of trade." That seems 
to be exceedingly ridiculous to the gentleman. But, as he is a great 
stickler for party consistency, let us see what the Republican party of 
Ohio said in 1868 on the subject. *^ Resolved, That we heartily ap- 
prove of the policy of Congress in stopping the contraction of thfe cur- 
rency; [laughter and cheers] and we believe that the issue of the cur- 
rency should be commensurate with the individual and commercial 
interests of the country." [Cheers.] I think that means* " equal to 
the wants of trade." I indorsed that proposition as very good then ; 
as I indorsed also the proposition in the same platform to pay the 
five-twenty bonds in greenbacks. [Applause.] But I find the promise 
of the Republican party either to stop contraction, or to make the cur- 
rency equal to the wants of trade, or to pay the public debt according 
to the contract, is not very reliable. [Applause.] 

The gentleman pleads for ** honest money" — for the preservation of 
the national faith — and exhorts you not to commit dishonor and turn 
swindlers. The first legal tenders contained the endorsement — I am 
sorry I have not one to show you so that you may be able to understand 
the statement — [laughter and applause] — that those notes shall be ex- 
changeable for five-twenty bonds. But the Republican party, while 
those notes were outstanding, passed an act declaring they should not 
be exchangeable for five- twenties. [Applause.] Those five-twenties- — 
issued in the battle summer of the w^ar, when the sons of Ohio were 
giving not only their time but their blood for the preservation of the 
unity of the Republic ^applause] — were bought at from forty to fifty 
cents on the dollar, and were by the contract payable in greenbacks at 
par. The men who fought the war had the right to pay them in 
greenbacks. The men who made the vast sacrifices of the war, while 
the holders of money securities were to a large extent shrinking from 
personal exposure and personal loss, had a right to pay those bonds ac- 
cording to the contract. [Applause.] But the Republican party, after 
having won the election in 1868 on the faith of that pledge, wantonly, 
dishonestly, like a scoundrel, tore the power to pay those bonds in 
greenbacks from the people. [Cheers.] And n:)w while all this green- 

156 Debate at Colunifms. 

back money is afloat among the people — taken by them solely because 
it is a legal tender — Gen. Grant and Mr. Bristow propose that a law 
shall be passed stripping the greenback in the hands of the people of 
the power of paying their debts. [Applause.] And, further, though 
all the vast sum of eight billions of dollars of existing currency debt 
was made with the understanding that the people should have the right 
to discharge those debts in the money that they got for them, this re- 
sumption law proposes to swindle them out of seventeen per cent, 
more than they contracted to pay. [Applause.] Honesty and honor 
in dealing with financial questions ! I am astonished at the gentleman 
talking here in behalf of the Republican party about either. [Cheers.] 
In point of oratorical nerve — ^I will not say audacity, for my friendship 
for the gentleman will not allow it — ^I have never known its parallel, 
except in the instance of Reynard the fox, who, after he had been out 
all Saturday night robbing hen-roosts, came in on Sunday morning to 
a congregation of foxes, and stepping into the pulpit, with the feathers 
still sticking in his whiskers, lectured them on the damnable sin of 
hen-stealing. [Laughter and cheers.] 

The gentleman is quite facetious over the cry he heard from those 
dusky miners in Shawnee, ** More greenbacks," " more greenbacks." 
What did that mean ? It meant more w^ork for unemployed men ! 
[" That's so," and cheers.] It meant more food for suffering children 
and women. [Cheers.] It meant shoes for their feet and clothes for 
their backs.' [Cheers.] This is fine talk to come from the city where 
$200,000,000 of unemployed money lies hoarded. Look at the pros- 
trate industries of this country. See the stalwart, industrious men 
having no work, even at half wages. Look back at last winter. 
Think of the thousands and tens of thousands of men who left their 
homes in manufacturing and mining points like Shawnee — left their 
wives and helpless children, giving them the pittance that remained 
from prosperous days — and marched, with heavy heart, from house to 
house and farm to farm over the length and breadth of our great 
State, seeking to sell their labor ^r bread. 

" Oh ! for a rake, a spade, a hoe, 
A pick-axe, or a bill " — 

The wail of the pauper laborer of Great Britain heard at our doors 
in this land of bounty and plenty! [Cheers.] In my little city of 
Lancaster the mayor told me that there were 600 different men, able- 
bodied, sober men, who were brought up to some special avocation, and 
therefore were unable to engage in other pursuits successfully — not a 

Ewin^s Eejoinder. 157 

man of them a resident of our county — who came there in the bitter 
days of last winter and begged him to let them be locked up in oui* lit- 
tle cold jail. [Applause.] Some nights he said they were there in 
such numbers that in that small room they could n't even lie down, but 
had to stand up all night. " More greenbacks ! " [Applause.] Aye, 
^' Stop offering a premium for the withdrawal of money from the pro- 
ductive industries of the country" — that is what it means. Aye, 
'* Give to the business of this country just the amount of currency it 
needs for legitimate purposes." [Cheers.] If that is the cry of the 
commune, I read history wrong. It is the cry of the American citizen 
who has the right to demand that, as long as we must depend on paper 
money which the Government may issue, it shall issue it itself, instead 
of hiring private corporations to do it — and shall issue it, too, in just 
such amount as the legitimate business of the country may be found to 
require [applause] — no matter whether it be a hundred millions more 
or a hundred millions less than the present volume of currency. There 
is no other rule for the quantity of money, but the demand of that le- 
gitimate business which Will reopen our mines and shops, and give to 
the now stricken laborer constant employment at fair wages. [Cheers.] 
Gentleman, my time is up, and the curtain now falls on our joint